Latest News

Heparin producer's insurers file lawsuit

The insurance companies for Scientific Protein Laboratories’ parent company, American Capital Ltd., are suing to nullify the policies with the laboratory, according to The Daily Record. The Wisconsin-based company entered a joint venture with Baxter International Inc. to produce heparin in China. Last year, heparin produced at that plant was found to have been contaminated with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS), a heparin-mimicking material that can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. The contaminated heparin killed more than 80 people in the U.S. and sickened hundreds more before several batches of the blood thinner were recalled. American Capital purchased 87 percent of Scientific ... Read More

Property owners file claims against TVA

Four lawsuits have been filed by Kingston, Tennessee property owners against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a result of December’s toxic spill that dumped more than a billion pounds of coal ash on to 300 acres of a rural east Tennessee community, according to the Tennessean.  The material dumped on property and neighboring waterways contained dangerous toxins such as arsenic, lead, barium, chromium and manganese. If ingested or inhaled in high levels, those toxins could cause serious health problems such as cancer, liver damage and neurological complications. A massive cleanup ringing in at about $1 million per day is ... Read More

Texas woman sues Digitek manufacturer for husband’s death

A woman from Texas claims that her husband died in January 2007 as a result of his Digitek medication containing twice the active ingredient. On Jan. 23, 2008, Vickie Butts, representing the estate of her deceased husband, Donnie Butts, filed a product liability lawsuit against Actavis, the drug manufacturer, and Mylan, the distributor. The Southeast Texas Record states, “According to the original complaint, just a year after acquiring the business of manufacturing Digitek, the defendants received a warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that they had failed to provide periodic safety reports from its solid oral dose manufacturing ... Read More

Congress announces first hearing on peanut butter recall

Representative Henry Waxman, D-Cal. and Representative Bart Stupak, D-MI announced on Thursday that congress will hold the first public hearing on the salmonella outbreak that has been traced to Peanut Corporation of America’s peanut butter products. Last week we reported how Peanut Corp. found some of their peanut butter to be tainted with salmonella but sold and shipped the products anyway. After the products tested positive for salmonella in internal tests, the company had the products retested by external labs, who reported negative readings. The re-tests outraged some members of congress, who accused Peanut Corp. of shopping around for negative ... Read More

Feds propose new reg to remove leaking storage tanks from service

With spills and leaks from storage tank systems that contain petroleum products continuing to pose significant health and environmental risks, the federal Department of the Environment proposed recently a new regulation to reduce the risk of contaminating soil and groundwater. The proposed Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations would replace the current Federal Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands or Aboriginal Lands Regulations (SOR/97-10). The proposed regulation would apply to storage tank systems owned or operated by federal departments, boards, agencies, and Crown corporations; to storage ... Read More

Ethyol now linked to SJS, TEN

A prescription drug given to counter a side effect of radiation for head and neck cancer now carries a warning about possible serious adverse reactions to the medication known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Ethyol (amifostine) was among 29 drugs listed in a Jan. 30th FDA MedWatch announcement of drug products with safety labeling changes to their boxed warnings, contraindications, warnings, precautions, adverse reactions, patient package inserts and medication guides. Ethyol is a prescription medication given by injection before postoperative radiation treatment sessions for head and neck cancer to lower the rate of moderate to ... Read More

Scientists confirm sludge contains arsenic, radium

Duke University scientists have confirmed the fears of most residents in the east Tennessee community that fell victim last month to the massive TVA pond coal ash spill that dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic waste on to their property and into nearby rivers. Scientists have concluded that sludge in the area contains high levels of arsenic and elevated levels of radioactive radium – enough to cause harm to humans if the cleanup isn’t done with extreme caution, according to MSNBC/Associated Press. Exposure to arsenic and radium can have cause serious health issues in humans, including cancer, liver damage ... Read More

Previous leaks should have signaled warning

Two small leaks that preceded December’s Kingston, Tennessee coal ash spill by years went largely ignored by the Tennessee Valley Authority, according to Forbes/Associated Press. The spill dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic ash and mud on to 300 acres of a rural east Tennessee neighborhood, pouring into nearby rivers and destroying property and wildlife in its wake. What remains are remnants of dangerous materials including arsenic, lead, chromium, manganese and barium. In 2003 and 2006, two small leaks occurred at the Kingston plant, which raised the interest of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. That agency asked TVA ... Read More

Woman’s sight restored after TEN

Judy Ziegler’s eyes had endured a lot over the years. In 1995, the Myersville, Maryland woman experienced severe scarring in her eyes when she had an adverse reaction to medication resulted in toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). TEN is the most severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a life-threatening hypersensitivity disorder that presents with a rash on the skin that then blisters over, causing the skin to fall off in sheets. SJS/TEN also affects the mucus membranes causing blisters in the mouth and on the eyes. The fatality rate of those with TEN approaches 40 percent. Though she miraculously recovered, ... Read More

Nursing home worker fired after reporting abuse

Something seems amiss at Montrose Health Center in Iowa. Lora Washburn was following rules when she reported an incident of abuse she witnessed at the nursing home where she worked. But a few days later she was fired, according to The Des Moines Register and The Hawkeye. Washburn was working as marketing and admissions coordinator at Montrose when she spotted a coworker chiding a resident who was in a wheelchair. The worker, who had been with the facility 11 years, called the resident pathetic, reducing the patient to tears. Washburn reported the incident to the nursing home administrator, David Payne, ... Read More