Writer: the Los Angeles Times


President’s Cancer Panel Warns of Synthetic Chemicals

A recent, dramatic warning about synthetic chemicals causing cancer came from an unlikely source — the normally staid President's Cancer Panel. In the past, the federal panel's annual reports have explored maximizing the nation's investment in cancer research or promoting healthful living, or they simply assessed the nation's progress in [...]


Safer Food, and Soon

Two-thirds of the chickens sold in this country are contaminated with campylobacter or salmonella or both. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is right to be raising its standards to guard against poultry contamination, which sickens more than 60,000 people a year. But this is chicken feed compared with the 76 million people who fall prey to food poisoning each year in the United States. For that, the country needs to overhaul its food safety system — and finally, after eight months of letting it languish, the Senate is again taking up legislation that would tighten food tracking and oversight.


Climate Change is the True Crisis

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: One deadly explosion while extracting fossil fuels may be regarded as a misfortune, but two within a month looks like carelessness. That's the problem lawmakers are wrestling with amid hearings and federal investigations of the Upper Big Branch mine blast in West Virginia and the BP oil rig collapse in the Gulf of Mexico. We're pleased to see that the reactive machinery is functioning, and confident that it will result in regulations to better protect miners and oil workers. But we can't help thinking that our representatives are missing the signs of a far more destructive crisis in the making.

Doubt cast on Toyota’s decision to blame sudden acceleration on gas pedal defect

The pedal maker denies that its products are at fault. Some independent safety experts also are skeptical of Toyota's explanations. 'We know this recall is a red herring,' one says. Toyota Motor Corp.'s decision to blame its widening sudden-acceleration problem on a gas pedal defect came under attack Friday, with [...]

Data point to Toyota’s throttles, not floor mats

Amid widening concern over acceleration events, Toyota has cited 'floor mat entrapment.' But reports point to another potential cause: the electronic throttles that have replaced mechanical systems. Eric Weiss was stopped at a busy Long Beach intersection last month when he said his 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup unexpectedly started accelerating, [...]

Cellphone law may not make roads safer

Drivers' chatting, even on hands-free devices, is risky, experts say. As California joins five other states in requiring drivers to use hands-free devices when talking on cellphones, an increasing body of research suggests the legislation will accomplish little. The risk doesn't stem from whether one or both hands are on [...]