More than a year after candy, clove and fruit flavors were banned in cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to do the same to menthol. It's easy to understand why the law that gave the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco also forbade so many types of [...]
Writer: the Los Angeles Times
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 [...]
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.
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.
The California engineering firm is known for helping big corporations weather messy disputes. It denies accusations that it skews results to benefit its clients. When some of the world's best-known companies faced disputes over secondhand smoke, toxic waste in the jungle and asbestos, they all turned to the same source [...]
The company vigorously denies that its vehicles' acceleration problems might stem from an electronic or software glitch. But it remains an open question, and any such finding would be devastating. In the nearly five months since it launched a string of recalls to stop its cars from accelerating out of [...]
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 [...]
The technology is popular but quirky and there is no universal standard. Its problems are potentially serious. The sleek Infiniti G37 Cindy Marsh bought last August was the car of her dreams, equipped with the latest keyless electronics technology that allows her to start the engine with the touch of [...]
Critics say NHTSA has been slow to address problems. The watchdog says it's beefing up its staff. Richard and Carolyn Carlson were driving through rural Colorado in February 2005 when they hit a patch of black ice. Their Chrysler PT Cruiser spun backward into an embankment, causing the back of [...]
A Times investigation shows the world's largest automaker has delayed recalls and attempted to blame human error in cases where owners claimed vehicle defects. During a routine test on its Sienna minivan in April 2003, Toyota Motor Corp. engineers discovered that a plastic panel could come loose and cause the [...]
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, [...]
Safety investigators dismissed numerous reports of sudden acceleration, then said data were lacking. More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Times review of [...]
The board often reduces or dismisses penalties against companies that Cal-OSHA has fined. Rosa Frias was working the evening shift at Bimbo Bakeries in South San Francisco when she reached into her bread-making machine to remove a hunk of dried dough. She screamed as her left hand, and then her [...]
A fatal accident in San Diego raises the question: Might a vehicle's complex electronic features make it hard for drivers to react quickly when accelerating out of control? The 2009 Lexus ES 350 shot through suburban San Diego like a runaway missile, weaving at 120 miles an hour through rush [...]
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 [...]