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Environment

Electric Utilities Challenged for Slow-Walking Switch from Natural Gas to Clean Renewable Energy

Even in the gray fog of a pandemic, news about the future of the U.S. power sector has been dominated by a sunny outlook on renewable energy.  In January, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that most new electric power generation in 2020 would come from wind and solar.

Consumer Protection

Engulfed in Lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson to Halt North American Sales of Talc-Based Johnson’s Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson announced that it will halt North American sales of its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder, a product that for decades evoked images of cherubic infants and adoring moms, but in recent years has dragged the company into a quagmire of expensive litigation.

Consumer Protection

Precious Keepsake or Needless Risk? Ultrasound Businesses Peddle Fetal Photos to Anxious Parents

The FDA has repeatedly urged expectant mothers to avoid medically unnecessary ultrasounds, like those performed for entertainment's sake at keepsake ultrasound clinics. The situation reflects a misconception, even among some medical professionals, that repeated, long-term exposure is proven to be harmless to the developing fetus.

Consumer Protection

On the Prowl for Bogus Claims About Coronavirus Treatments, the FDA Targets Miracle Mineral Solution

In its attempted crackdown on bogus coronavirus remedies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has encountered an old nemesis: a “miracle” solution made of chlorine dioxide that experts say is akin to drinking bleach. But the Florida church peddling Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS, as the chlorine dioxide drink is [...]

Consumer Protection

“Biodegradable,” a Magic Word for Environmentally-Minded Consumers, Isn’t Always a Green Panacea

The ''Biodegradable'' label can be a powerful draw for shoppers concerned about the future of the planet. But they might not be aware of a critical drawback: As biodegradable materials break down in a landfill, which is where they usually end up, they can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas with climate warming effects upwards of 30 times that of carbon dioxide.

Public Health

No Walk in the Park for Americans Struggling with Cabin Fever Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Yellow tape cordons off the playground equipment at a suburban Sacramento public park. (Photo by Marjie Lundstrom) By the time Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California closed today — this time for real, sealing out even bikers and hikers — local residents were seething. The picturesque swath [...]

Consumer Protection

Here Come the Frauds: From Bogus Vaccine Kits to ‘Silver Solution,’ Coronavirus Cons Begin

The swindles have begun. As Americans struggle to cope with the spread of COVID-19, they will also need to brace themselves for “disaster fraud”—those cons that rely on post-catastrophe chaos to separate people from their money. 

Consumer Protection

Pesticides and Produce: Environmental Group Lists Cleanest and Dirtiest Fruits and Vegetables

An environmental advocacy group is out today with its annual report on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Raisin lovers, take note. Nearly all conventionally-grown raisins have traces of two or more pesticides, according to government test data cited in a new report. That's worrisome, says the environmental group that authored the report, because raisins are such a popular children's snack.

Public Health

“I win. I got the most toilet paper.”

Americans are being told to limit public interactions during the coronavirus pandemic, and to stay at home as much as possible. They're also being told not to denude grocery shelves by hoarding food and other essentials. But have these messages at times been contradictory? If people are supposed to avoid venturing out in public, including shopping trips, doesn’t it make sense for them to limit trips by stocking up as much as they can?

Consumer Protection

Counterfeits Hit Home: Consumers Are Being Foiled by Fake Water Filters

Despite the efforts of Customs and Border Protection agents, counterfeiters are passing off ineffective refrigerator water filters to many thousands of consumers, who think they are buying the real thing. The fakes may not only be useless, but unsafe. Along with failing to do what they claim, counterfeits can introduce chemicals such as arsenic and octane, a petroleum-derived solvent, into users’ drinking water.