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Infant dies after eating concentrated laundry detergent packet

Seven-month-old Michael Williams was coughing when paramedics arrived at the battered woman’s shelter where he was staying. His mother was visibly distraught. She had stepped away from him as he slept in bed. When she returned she saw him eating laundry detergent packets provided by the shelter, which she had placed inside a laundry basket in the bed next to him. Shelter staff helped her remove the empty packets and clear the phlegm from the boy’s mouth, but the damage had been done. Emergency responders rushed him to the hospital, where his condition grew worse and he died. The Florida ... Read More

Illinois sues ExxonMobil over prolonged leak of toxic hydrogen sulfide gasses

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corporation after an equipment malfunction at the company’s Channahon Township refinery caused a release of hydrogen sulfide into the air that lasted nearly 10 hours. According to the complaint, the release started about 9 p.m. on March 1 and went undiscovered by refinery employees until approximately 6:45 a.m. the next morning. ExxonMobil notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Will County emergency officials, and other state and federal agencies of the toxic release. Company officials told state regulators that a pressure relief valve failed at the ... Read More

Some Lumber Liquidators flooring contains toxic formaldehyde levels, report finds

Lumber Liquidators, a highly profitable chain of 279 retail stores selling engineered wood and laminate flooring products, is one of the nation’s largest flooring companies. Last year the company sold more than $800 million in flooring product and its stock prices soared amid attractive profit margins and news that its aggressive growth plan aimed to double the number of retail outlets in just about every state. But blogger and investor Xuhua Zhou reveals that some of Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese-made flooring contains levels of formaldehyde that are both illegal and potentially toxic to consumers – a concern that is echoed by ... Read More

Fresenius receives FDA warning letter claiming violations of good manufacturing practices

Fresenius Kabi Oncology, maker of generic intravenous oncology drugs, has received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) citing manufacturing violations at the firm’s Kalyani facility in West Bengal. The letter says that an inspection of the facility last January found significant deviations from current good manufacturing practice for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Fresenius Kabi sent a response a month later, which the FDA says lacks sufficient corrective actions. The agency claims Fresenius Kabi kept samples, data and results outside the local systems for assessing quality, which raised serious concerns regarding the integrity and reliability ... Read More

Fresenius, DaVita fight proposed Medicare cuts to kidney dialysis centers

Fresenius Medical Care and DaVita Healthcare Partners are fighting a proposed 9.4 percent federal rate cut on Medicare payments to their kidney dialysis centers, arguing the cuts could result in diminished services for dialysis patients. The government, however, claims that Medicare for years has dramatically overpaid for the anti-anemia drugs used on patients during dialysis treatment. A recent report estimated Medicare paid $529 million more than it should have in 2011 for the drugs. As a result, lawmakers have tried to reduce the cost of the drugs in part by including them in the “bundle” payment given to dialysis centers ... Read More

Toxic chemical use in chicken plants set to rise, posing serious health risks to workers, public

With U.S. chicken consumption rising steadily, poultry processing plants nationwide are poised to implement changes that will injure and sicken many workers. Instead of meeting rising demand by expanding facilities and hiring additional workers, the poultry processing industry is poised to increase maximum line speeds and rely more heavily on the use of highly toxic chemicals to treat contaminated chicken. A number of reports have been published explaining the dangers of increasing the already-maximized line speeds in chicken plants, which will boost the number of chickens line workers must inspect from 140 per minute to 175 per minute. Regulations that ... Read More

Gulf residents, ecology facing deadly aftershocks of BP’s oil spill cover-up

Nearly three years after BP doused its monstrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill with Corexit oil dispersants, the media has finally started to report on just how dangerous the chemicals, which are meant to break oil down into tiny particles for micro-organisms to consume and digest, are to human health and the environment. But with the BP oil spill a distant memory in most peoples’ minds and the lack of serious media coverage given to what has been called the “trial of the century” – BP’s federal trial that could put it on the hook to pay tens of billions of ... Read More

Report details how Corexit dispersant made BP oil spill many times more toxic

A new report published by the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy group provides one of the most thoroughly researched, comprehensive independent analyses of BP’s unrestrained use of Corexit oil dispersants to break up the oil that blasted from its Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and sinking in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The report sends a strong warning about the proven, toxic effects of the chemical dispersant on human health and the environment, but it also demonstrates how powerful corporations like BP continually undermine the federal government’s authority, rendering it unable or unwilling to actively prevent such disasters ... Read More

Exxon Mobil must pay NH $236 million for widespread groundwater contamination

The longest state trial in New Hampshire history ended Tuesday with a jury verdict against Exxon Mobil Corp. for its role in polluting groundwater with MTBE, a gasoline additive. The jury ordered the oil giant to pay the state $236 million, the amount New Hampshire officials sought to clean up and monitor the groundwater contamination. According to the Associated Press, the jury returned its verdict in less than 90 minutes, after listening to nearly three months of testimony. Exxon Mobil began adding MTBE to its gasoline in the 1990s in order to reduce smog levels and meet federal Clean Air ... Read More

Chemical spill triggers evacuation of Birmingham aluminum plant

Four workers were treated for injuries after a chemical spill occurred inside a Birmingham aluminum plant Monday morning. Bermco Aluminum, a maker of secondary aluminum alloys, evacuated its building on 33rd Street North along the Messer Airport Highway while the spill was contained and cleaned up, a Birmingham Fire Department spokesperson told AL.com. A company official said that a leak of liquid chlorine occurred as a vendor was making a weekly delivery of the chemical, which is used in the plant for cleaning purposes, according to AL.com. The spill was reported about 9:40 a.m. The company sounded an alarm, and ... Read More