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E. Coli Outbreak Sickens Hundreds of Marine Recruits

Hundreds of Marine recruits fell ill in an outbreak of E. coli at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, California, including nine that have developed kidney failure. U.S. Marine Corps officials have not identified the source of the E. coli outbreak but said the matter is under investigation and announced several measures being implemented to prevent further illnesses. Seventeen of the Marines-in-training sickened in the E. coli outbreak have required hospitalization off base, including nine whose illness led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that can cause strokes, seizures, ... Read More

Tainted diet pills recalled after FDA warning

Days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Notification warning consumers not to purchase or use A1 Slim diet pills because they contained hidden drugs that posed a risk to some consumers, the dietary supplement’s manufacturer, Kiriko LLC, issued a recall of all lots of A1 Slim capsules. A laboratory analysis conducted by the FDA first revealed the diet pills contained sibutramine. Later, the FDA found that the capsules also contained phenolphthalein and N-Desmethyl sibutramine. Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant that was withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010 due to safety concerns. N0Desmethyl sibutramine is an ... Read More

MRSA Infections Possible From Second-Hand Items From Flooded Areas

Some public health officials are warning consumers considering buying second-hand items to be wary of products that may have come from flood-stricken areas because they could be contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other potentially harmful germs. KRGV News 5 Rio Grande Valley, Texas spoke with Hidalgo County Health Director Eddie Olivares who recommended that anyone buying something second-hand wipe it down with a bleach solution or other disinfectant before using it. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it’s an especially important piece of advice as flood-damaged cars, furniture, toys and other items turn up in flea markets, Craig’s List, Facebook ... Read More

Texas Woman Dies From Flesh-Eating Bacteria From Harvey Floodwater

A Kingwood, Texas woman died Tuesday, Sept. 15, from a flesh-eating bacterial infection after falling in the floodwaters left by Hurricane Harvey, the Harris County medical examiner’s office confirmed. Nancy Reed, 77, was at her son’s flooded home in Kingwood, on the northeastern outskirts of Houston, when she fell into the water, breaking and cutting her arm. The injury became infected and she developed necrotizing fasciitis – a condition in which A Streptococcus, E. coli, Vibrio, and other bacteria create toxins that destroy muscle. “Flesh-eating” infections spread rapidly and are extremely difficult to stop, even with potent antibiotics, and often ... Read More

Valero Downplayed the Level of Toxic Chemicals Released During Hurricane Harvey

The Valero oil refinery near the border of Manchester, Texas, is accused of downplaying the amount of chemicals released during Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Press says that shortly after the roofs of storage tanks were submerged in flooding waters, releasing massive amounts of benzene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Valero told officials that they “found no detectable levels of emissions in the community.” Texas Environmental Advocacy Services founder Juan Parras described the odor in the air throughout Manchester as smelling like a gas stove. “I was afraid to even light a match,” said Parras. “I kept thinking everything would burst ... Read More

Explosions at Arkema Chemical Plant Raise Health and Safety Concerns

Explosions at a Houston-area Arkema, Inc. chemical plant have raised health and safety concerns about the potential toxicity being released into the air. Arkema makes adhesives found in plastics, car parts, tile, wallpaper, clothing, eyeglasses and diapers. The company also claims to be the third-largest producer of hydrogen peroxide, ABC News reports. The chemical plant, located in Crosby, Texas, lost power as well as backup generators after Hurricane Harvey dumped flooding waters into the Houston area. According to the plant’s operator, the power loss knocked out refrigeration necessary to stabilize organic peroxides. As the temperatures rose, the chemicals became volatile, resulting in explosions. The blasts were followed ... Read More

High Levels of Benzene Released in Houston

Air tests in a Houston neighborhood have detected extremely high levels of benzene following the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. The neighborhood is located close to a Valero Energy oil refinery, which is concerning enough. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, nearby residents are now alarmed by the plumes of carcinogens released into the air, according to an article by the New York Times. The Houston Health Department took air samples from the Manchester district of the city and ran tests to check the levels of toxic fumes. The results showed the air contained benzene at levels of 324 parts per ... Read More

Warning: Natural Disasters Spawn Job Scams

Federal and state labor officials are warning people looking for work about numerous job-related scams that always appear after a natural disaster such as Tropical Storm Harvey and ensuing floods in Houston and Louisiana. And with a category 5 hurricane currently barreling toward Florida, the warning couldn’t be timelier. Major natural disasters leave in their wake a massive demand for cleanup and construction labor as devastated cities and towns struggle to rebuild. Often, however, the lucrative job opportunities that are commonly advertised are illegitimate. Alabama Department of Labor Communications Director Tara Hutchison told Montgomery, Alabama’s WSFA that those looking for work ... Read More

Hours-of-Service Rules Relaxed In Wake of Harvey Flooding

Federal transportation officials have declared a state of emergency relaxing hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers in 26 states to help expedite the overland shipment of fuel in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made the announcement August 31 in response to “fuel shortages due to refinery delays and interruption of delivery through pipelines as a result of damage from Tropical Storm Harvey.” The storm dropped a record amount of rainfall in Houston and other parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana, resulting in the loss of power to major U.S. oil refineries, including ... Read More

Explosions at Arkema Plant Shine Light on Irresponsible Deregulation

A series of explosions rocked the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, on Thursday as flood waters killed power and backup generators to refrigeration systems that kept the stored chemicals stable. The facilities were abandoned earlier in the week with the French-owned company saying that there was nothing it could do to prevent the plant from exploding. Residents within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant just east of Houston were forced to evacuate, but more than a dozen public safety officers required medical treatment at a nearby hospital after inhaling noxious smoke billowing from the chemical fires. Arkema says more explosions ... Read More