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Milwaukee 48 articles

Forest Labs Will Pay $38 Million To Resolve Allegations It provided illegal kickbacks

New York City-based Forest Laboratories and its subsidiary Forest Pharmaceuticals have agreed to pay the U.S. government $38 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by a whistleblower who claimed the companies engaged in illegal kickback schemes to coax doctors into prescribing their drugs. The lawsuit, filed by former Forest employee Kurt Kroening in federal court in Milwaukee, Wis., accused Forest of pushing its drugs Bystoic, Savella, and Namenda between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, by providing kickbacks to physicians in the form of payments and meals. Federal prosecutors investigated Mr. Kroening’s claims and chose to ... Read More

Wisconsin Worker’s Death Blamed On Lack Of Machine Guards

CEDARBURG, WIS –As he hand-polished a 40-inch long metal cylinder, a Carlson Tool & Manufacturing employee Steve Volkman, 36, became entangled in an industrial lathe’s operating spindle and suffered injuries that led to his death two days later. A federal investigation of the fatal accident by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials found the Cedarburg, Wis.-based manufacturer allowed the computer-controlled lathe to operate with its safety interlocks bypassed. The interlocks prevent workers from coming in contact with moving machine parts. The same inspection also found the lathe’s door, which was intended to provide guarding, had been open. The lack of ... Read More

60-year-old Vermont Man Suffers Acute Lung Injury After Using Cinnamon Flavored E-Cigarettes

A 60-year-old man in Vermont was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis last year after suffering an acute lung injury following the vaping of “red hot cinnamon” flavored e-cigarettes. He first came to his VA hospital with weakness, chills and a cough. He was administered antibiotics and, three days later, felt “normal” when he returned home. But a month later, the man came back to the hospital with the same symptoms, along with a fever that wasn’t present before. The doctors ordered a CT scan, which showed a lung injury that is usually associated with chemical exposure. That’s when the man admitted to using “strongly ... Read More

West Virginia Woman Develops Pneumonia After Vaping

A 31-year-old West Virginia resident had only been vaping for three months when she developed a chronic cough. She was suddenly plagued by other symptoms as well: shortness of breath, weight loss and labored breathing, which are all symptoms of hypersensitivity pneumonia. When she sought medical care, she was admitted into the hospital and quickly transported to the intensive care unit due to failing lungs. Soon after being admitted, the woman went into respiratory failure. A ventilator was required to keep her breathing comfortably. Doctors at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center said the woman had started smoking e-cigarettes in an ... Read More

Could an Occupational Health Tracking System have Saved Workers from Lung Disease?

When a worker, a 46-year-old mother of three, at a Maxwell House coffee plant in Houston died, her death was reportedly caused from “bronchial asthma.” The following year, another worker at the same plant died of the same lung disease. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, had the deaths been recorded into a national database of occupational illnesses, public health specialists could have been alerted to a potential issue. A few years later, several workers at the same coffee plant began to suspect that they were being exposed to some kind of hazardous chemical in the air when they developed a ... Read More

CDC Warns Coffee Roasters of diacetyl exposure danger: Keep Face Away From Bins of Roasted Beans

About 600,000 workers across the nation roast, grind, package and serve coffee on a daily basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns workers to keep their faces away from the bins of roasted coffee beans. When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sent its own industrial hygienist to collect samples of the air in Just Coffee and another Wisconsin roastery, they tested for the presence of diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione. The samples taken near coffee roasting bins far exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended levels, and in some cases, were as much as four times greater than recommended levels. Diacetyl ... Read More

Texas Woman Diagnosed with Severe Lung Disease After Years of Occupational Diacetyl Exposure

Julysabel Cerda is only 35 years old and had worked at a coffee roasting plant in Texas since 2007. Part of her everyday routine was climbing the ladder to the mezzanine at the top of a grinder where coffee beans were processed. She would stir the beans, inhaling aromas that are suspected of destroying her lungs. Only a year after working there, she began to notice being increasingly winded after climbing the same ladder every day. She was fit, healthy and active otherwise. She suspected something must be wrong. A cough persisted, her throat constantly felt dry, and she couldn’t figure out why ... Read More

Diacetyl In Coffee Flavorings Suspected in worker’s severe Lung Injury

Emanuel Diaz de Leon was living in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 2009 when he was taking care of his family’s grocery store business. He grew weary of the dangerous threat of drug cartel members, and decided to move his family to the United States, where he was born. They found an ideal home in Tyler, Texas, and settled in. When Diaz de Leon took a job at a coffee roasting plant, he was completely unaware of the health risk involved in the coffee roasting business. In spring of 2010 he was promoted to work in the flavor room. Diaz de Leon was thrilled with ... Read More

Naturally Occurring Diacetyl Just as Dangerous to Inhale as Synthetic Substitute

Diacetyl and 2,3 pentanedione (a diacetyl substitute) are produced by chemical manufacturers. The volatile organic compound is used as a flavoring agent in products such as microwave popcorn, flavored coffee, cake mixes, prepackaged frosting, and many other types of foods. Diacetyl also can be found in nature. Green, unroasted coffee beans contain little to no diacetyl, but the roasting process produces naturally occurring diacetyl. The chemical can be released into the air around the roaster, posing a possible hazard if inhaled. Ground coffee beans create a larger surface area for these chemicals to become airborne, regardless of whether the beans have been ... Read More

Machine Amputates Worker’s Fingertips At Wisconsin Cereal Plant

A 30-year-old employee of organic food manufacturer Nature’s Path Foods Inc. severed three of his fingertips while cleaning an improperly guarded machine at the company’s Sussex, Wis., plant. Federal investigators said the accident would have been avoided had the cereal manufacturer complied with key safety rules. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the machine had not been fully powered down before the worker cleaned it. The machine powered back up accidentally when the worker’s fingers were near the rotating airlock blades. OSHA said it cited the company for the same violation in 2012. “Training workers to isolate energy, ... Read More