Concerns Over Danger to Children and Others From Synthetic Turf Fields Escalate

This year’s LandTek FieldTurf convention, held last month at a hotel in Huntington, Long Island, New York, was dedicated to addressing recent worries that the filling material, composed of ground up tires, could eventually expose athletes to life-threatening illness.

The concerns have to do with the fact that the artificial fields are constructed using up to ten tons of ground-up used tires, or crumb rubber, as in-fill. The danger is that since tires typically contain toxic substances which prohibit their disposal in landfills and oceans, it seems reasonable to question whether this material is safe for use on fields where … Read the rest

Will Congress Pass First Major Consumer Product Legislation in 18 Years?

Recent U.S. Senate approval, by a vote of 79 to 13, of a measure to overhaul the country’s consumer product laws and strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission that oversees the marketplace, moved Congress closer to passing the first major legislation in 18 years regulating dangerous products.

However, the Senate bill bears many more teeth than the version the House unanimously passed in December, 2007. While on one hand some consumer advocates consider the House version to be a sop to industry, on the other hand the House bill is endorsed by the White House and by major manufacturers, and … Read the rest

Import Surveillance Division Established to Inspect Toys and Other Products for Potential Safety Hazards and Liabilities

29 million toys were recalled in 2007. This unfortunate and scary trend has continued in 2008.

Since the beginning of this year, at least 19 products manufactured overseas have been voluntarily recalled by manufacturers in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to high lead levels, choking and aspiration problems in infants and children, magnets potentially causing fatal intestinal perforations, and smoke and fire hazards. Although many of the recalled toys were manufactured in countries which have far less quality controls than in the United States.

U.S. companies that sell and distribute such imported goods could be held … Read the rest

17 More Deaths and More Recalls Associated with Heparin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the number of deaths possibly associated with the drug heparin, made from pig intestines, had risen to 21 from 4. The reported number of those suffering adverse reactions increased from approximately 350 to 455. Both increases have been reported within just a 2 week time period. But the F.D.A. cautioned that many of those patients were already seriously ill and that the drug might not have caused their deaths.

Officials described the linkage of heparin to the additional 17 deaths as more tenuous than the 4 initially reported. Federal drug regulators said … Read the rest

Urgent Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Icy Hot Heat Therapy Products For Causing First, Second and Third Degree Burns

Chattem, Inc. announced February 8, 2008, that it is initiating a voluntary nationwide recall of its Icy Hot Heat Therapy products, including consumer “samples” that were included on a limited promotional basis in cartons of its 3 oz. Aspercreme product. Chattem is recalling these products because it has received some consumer reports of first, second and third degree burns as well as skin irritation resulting from consumer use or possible misuse of these products.

Consumers who have the Icy Hot products under recall should immediately stop using the products, discard them, and/or return them to Chattem. All lots and all … Read the rest

Suspension of Heparin Sales More than a Matter of Products Liability; Described as “a National Security Issue.”

Since Baxter International announced recently that it was suspending sales of its multidose vials of heparin after four patients died and 350 suffered complications including allergic reactions, many of them serious and potentially life-threatening, significant concerns have arisen as to the effectiveness of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of imported drugs. Baxter bought the active ingredient for heparin, which is derived from an enzyme in pig intestines, from Scientific Protein Laboratories, which produces heparin’s active ingredient in its factory in Changzhou, China.

Scientific Protein moved production to China three years ago because the country is the world’s largest … Read the rest

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Chantix, Which May Become the Subject of Product Liability Suits

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 1, 2008, issued a Public Health Advisory to alert health care providers, patients, and caregivers to new safety warnings concerning Chantix (varenicline), a prescription medication used to help patients stop smoking.

Serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have occurred in patients taking Chantix. These symptoms include changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and attempted and completed suicide. Chantix has been suggested as being a possibly significant contributing factor to the bizarre and tragic death of musician Carter Albrecht on September 5, 2007.

The FDA action adds credibility to the belief that Chantix … Read the rest

FDA Warns Public of Contaminated Syringes Manufactured by AM2 PAT, Inc. Containing Heparin and Saline Pre-filled Flush Syringes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on January 25, 2008, a nationwide recall of all lots of heparin and saline pre-filled flush syringes manufactured by AM2 PAT, Inc., of Angier, N.C. Two lots have been found to be contaminated with Serratia marcescens, a bacterium that can cause serious injury or death, and have in fact caused blood infections in patients. These syringes are manufactured by AM2 PAT under the brand names Sierra Pre-filled, Inc. and B. Braun. They are sold in fill sizes of 3mL, 5mL and 10mL and syringe sizes of 6mL and 12mL.

Consumers and health … Read the rest

Drug Makers Release Test Results That Shows That Their Cholesterol Drug Zetia Has No Benefits

Merck and Schering- Plough, the makers of the popular cholesterol drug, Zetia, announced that Zetia and Vytorin, a pill containing Zetia and Zocor, had failed to benefit patients of a two-year trial which was completed in April of 2006. Merck and Schering-Plough’s press release stated that Zetia not only failed to slow down the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, it contributed to the formation of plaque. Patients taking Vytorin to reduce the growth of fatty plaque in the arteries actually experienced a growth of plaque in their arteries twice as fast as those taking Zetia alone.

This … Read the rest

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Motions Challenging Vioxx Settlement Cloud Issues as January 15, 2008 Deadline to Register Approaches

Pursuant to the terms of the $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement, January 15, 2008 is the deadline for all plaintiffs with a Vioxx-related case to register — whether or not their injuries would necessarily qualify for the settlement payout. This preliminary step will establish how many cases Merck, the manufacturer of Vioxx, faces. Those that don’t qualify for the settlement could still go to court. More than 28,000 of the estimated 60,800 claimants have submitted registration information so far.

But several plaintiffs attorneys have made a motion requesting that the federal judge overseeing the Vioxx settlement, U.S. District Judge Eldon … Read the rest