Writer: Jessica Roberts

Warning Wire

Auto Safety Overhaul ‘Hanging by a Thread’ in Lame-Duck Congress

A proposed massive overhaul of auto safety laws spurred by Toyota's sudden-acceleration problems now appears at risk of dying in the current lame-duck session of Congress, the Los Angeles Times reports. The legislation, S.3302, has 23 major provisions that would create new safety standards, increase fines against automakers for violating [...]

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California Regulators Approve Cap-and-Trade Plan to Cut Gas Emissions

Air quality regulators in California have approved a ground-breaking carbon trading market, the centerpiece of the state's ambitious global warming law to slash carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The move, the Associated Press reports, was approved late Thursday in a 9-1 vote by the California Air Resources Board after [...]

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Panel Urges Regulatory Hands-Off Approach With Emerging Biology Field

A presidential commission has concluded there is no need to impose new regulations or to create new regulatory agencies for the controversial new field known as synthetic biology, The New York Times reports. The panel on Tuesday released released its first report on synthetic biology, the field of creating new [...]

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FDA Warns That Tessalon Cough Capsules Can Be Deadly for Kids

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning that children younger than 10 years old who accidentally ingest Tessalon liquid cough capsules may be at risk for serious side effects or death. The agency said that Tessalon, also known as benzonatate, is approved to treat cough symptoms in [...]

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Jury Awards $71 Million in Suit Accusing Tobacco Firm of Targeting Black Children

A Massachusetts jury has found the Lorillard Tobacco Co. liable, and awarded $71 million in compensatory damages, in the death of a Boston woman who said that, at age 9, she received free samples of Newport cigarettes in a marketing campaign that targeted black children. The case, the Associated Press [...]

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Chinese Police Hunt for Factory Boss Suspected of Enslaving Disabled Workers

Chinese authorities are searching for a factory boss who is believed to have enslaved mentally disabled workers, forcing them to labor long hours without pay, according to Chinese media reports cited by Reuters. The factory boss, who ran a construction materials operation in China's western Xinjiang province, is said to [...]

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Narcotic Painkillers May Raise Risks for Older Patients, Study Says

Older patients with arthritis who take narcotic or opioid-based painkillers appear to face a higher risk for bone fractures, heart attacks and death, compared to those using other, non-narcotic painkillers, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Doctors should not assume that opioids are a safer [...]

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FDA Reviewing Safety of Dental Fillings Containing Mercury

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the scientific evidence behind its pronouncement last year that dental fillings containing mercury do not harm patients, the Los Angeles Times reports. The review this week by an FDA advisory panel is focusing on amalgam, a silver-colored material considered the cheapest and longest-lasting [...]

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Children in Apartment Buildings Exposed to More Secondhand Smoke, Study Finds

In a new indication of the pervasiveness and hazards of secondhand smoke, a study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that children living in apartment buildings have higher levels of a nicotine byproduct in their blood than youngsters who reside in detached single-family homes. As The Boston Globe reports, [...]

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Offshore Oil-Drilling Inspectors Are in Disarray, Report Finds

The inspectors responsible for ensuring the safety of offshore oil drilling operations are overwhelmed by their workloads, trained insufficiently and inadequately protected from industry pressure, according to the Department of the Interior's inspector general. Many of the problems, which include a lack of official procedures for dealing with key issues, [...]

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FDA Panel Advises Approval of First New Diet Pill in a Decade

A medication that would be the nation's first new prescription diet drug in a decade may be nearing approval by the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA advisory committee, in a 13-to-7 vote, has recommended approval of Contrave, a diet drug from Orexigen Therapeutics of San Diego. The panel, Reuters [...]

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Cell Phone Use by Moms May Lead to Misbehaving Children, Study Suggests

Careless driving and rude public behavior are common symptoms of the cell phone habit. Now, research in Denmark has gone farther, suggesting that wireless use by expectant mothers may cause their kids to act out. Children whose mothers regularly used cell phones while pregnant are more likely to display behavioral problems, according to the study in the Journal of [...]

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Despite Warning, FDA Holding Off on Regulating Donated Breast Milk Banks

Despite issuing a recent warning about the risks of donated breast milk, the Food and Drug Administration has no plans to start regulating breast milk banks around the country. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, FDA deputy commissioner, told a panel of experts who met Monday to advise the agency on the issue [...]