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toxic injury 139 articles

DEA introduces new drug take-back program to combat prescription drug abuse

A new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rule aims to combat a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse by authorizing pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and others to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription medications. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new regulation will help save lives and protect families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. In 2011, unintentional prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than half of the 41,300 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Prescription opioids, which are increasingly prescribed for pain relief, are particularly addictive and likely to be abused. Opioid pain killer overdose caused ... Read More

Federal court holds Chinese drywall companies in contempt for ignoring U.S. litigation

China’s state-owned drywall manufacturers have abandoned litigation in the U.S. involving thousands of American homeowners who sued the companies over allegedly toxic and corrosive drywall they claim has damaged their homes and their health. In addition to not responding to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other gypsum manufacturers owned by the Chinese government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission ignored a $2.7 million default judgment against them in 2010. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan in civil and criminal contempt on July 17 for its refusal to appear in court to ... Read More

Listeria testing triggers nationwide recall of walnuts and hummus

Just days after Walmart settled 23 civil claims with families of victims harmed by a deadly listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe, two more U.S. food manufacturers have issued recalls after finding listeria in their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that one recall involves walnuts from St. Louis, Missouri-based Sherman Produce Company. The company said it is recalling 241 cases of bulk walnuts after routine sampling detected the bacteria. The other recall involves Lansal Inc., a Massachusetts processed foods manufacturer that is commonly known as “Hot Mama’s Foods.” The company said it is voluntarily recalling hummus and ... Read More

Jensen Farms cantaloupe victims reach settlement with Walmart

Walmart agreed this week to settle nearly two dozen lawsuits filed by families of victims who died in a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people and was traced by federal health officials to cantaloupe grown by Colorado-based Jensen Farms. The terms of the settlement remain confidential, but it resolves all 23 claims against Walmart, which sold the tainted cantaloupe in several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska. The plaintiffs have reached settlements with a few other smaller retailers, but the lawsuits will proceed against Kroger grocery chain, food safety auditor The Primus Group, and Frontera Produce, ... Read More

Peanut Corporation of America executive indicted by Grand Jury on charges stemming from Salmonella Outbreak

The owner of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), where one of the deadliest Salmonella outbreaks in U.S. history originated, has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury on 76 criminal charges. A group of employees and associates of the now-defunct company have also been arraigned in connection to the 2009 outbreak, which killed 9 people and sickened more than 700. According to the indictment, unsealed this week, PCA’s former owner, Stewart Parnell, 58, is charged with committing criminal fraud and conspiracy for allegedly selling and shipping out peanut products known to be contaminated. The Salmonella-tainted peanut butter and other peanut-based ... Read More

Prescription drug deaths rise for 11th consecutive year

The number of prescription drug-induced deaths rose for the 11th straight year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis. Most of the drug deaths were accidents involving potent painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. “This is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Prescription drug deaths continue to rise despite efforts to raise awareness of the risks among doctors and patients. The CDC reported a total of 38,329 drug-overdose fatalities nationwide in 2010. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved medicines, most of them prescription drugs. In 2009, the ... Read More

Many “toxin-free” nail salon products contain toxic chemicals, California regulators find

Frequent trips to the salon for manicures and pedicures could be hazardous to your health – that’s the bottom line of a new report by California’s Toxic Substances Control (CTSC), which found that several nail polishes and other products commonly used in salons and labeled as “toxin-free” actually have high levels of toxic chemicals. According to WebMD, a team of investigators from the CTSC’s Pollution Prevention Branch purchased 25 salon products from distributors in May 2011 and sent samples of those products to an independent lab for testing. The objective was to find if any of the products contained one ... Read More

U.S., Canada, Mexico join efforts in poison prevention week

To young children, grandma’s heart medicine looks like an enticing piece of candy, and a bottle of brightly colored, citrus-scented floor cleaner promises to be a fun, fruity drink. The typical household is full of such deceptive poisons for children who can’t yet read, as evidenced by more than one million emergency phone calls involving poisoned children made to U.S. poison control centers every year. This week (March 18-24) marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week. To help call attention to the everyday dangers of household poisoning, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has teamed with its Canadian ... Read More

Transvaginal mesh fast-tracked through FDA approval

Consumer Reports, one of the nation’s oldest and most trusted authorities on consumer product quality, has launched an offensive against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 510(k) medical device approval process, saying it has created “a nightmare scenario” for millions of Americans. The FDA’s 510(k) process, used to push transvaginal mesh, bladder slings, and other medical devices to market, is often referred to as the “fast-track” process or fast-tracking because it does just that; the process speeds many medical devices to market by forgoing clinical safety testing. Medical devices that are granted a ride on the 510(k) speedway must ... Read More

Whistleblower sues Takeda for downplaying Actos heart risks

A U.S. unit of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. downplayed the seriousness of hundreds of cases of congestive heart failure linked to its diabetes drug Actos to federal regulators, a Takeda employee alleges in a whistle-blower lawsuit she brought against the company. All pharmaceutical companies are required by law to report adverse drug reactions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). This information updates the drug database and keeps regulators apprised of safety concerns that could influence how the drug is marketed. Helen Ge, a medical reviewer for the Actos manufacturer, alleges that from 2007 to ... Read More