Bill Introduced To Protect New Yorkers, Especially Children, From Sex Predators On The Internet

New York’s legislative leaders, at the request of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, have introduced a new and comprehensive bill known as the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) that establishes vital protections against sexual predators so that users of the Internet can more safely surf the Web.

e-STOP would require sex offenders to register their email addresses, instant message screen names and any other online identifiers, and would give access to that information to online social networking companies. Those sites would then be able to pre-screen and block access by convicted sex offenders.

According to the … Read the rest

MySpace Agrees to Take New Steps to Protect Children from Sexual Predators and Bullies

MySpace, the country’s largest social-networking Web site, has agreed with attorneys general of 49 states to take new steps to protect children from sexual predators and bullies on its site. MySpace also agreed to lead a nationwide effort to develop technology to verify the ages and identities of Internet users. The popular online hangout will create a task force of industry professionals to improve the safety of users, and other social-networking sites will be invited to participate.

“We must keep telling children that they’re not just typing into a computer. They’re sharing themselves with the world,” said North Carolina Attorney … Read the rest

Lead Paint on Toys, Magnets that Perforate Intestines, Beads that Turn into “Date Rape Drug”, and Now Asbestos: What’s Next for Our Children?

As if it was not enough to learn that there is lead paint on toys, that small magnets can come loose from toys and perforate intestines, and that children’s Aqua Dots beads turn into “Date Rape Drug”, now asbestos has been found in a variety of consumer products, including one of this season’s biggest-selling Christmas toys, the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit.

The kit, made in China, is one of several items licensed by CBS after its popular “CSI” science-crime shows. The model has an array of plastic tools, inks and three types of very fine powders — white, … Read the rest

NY Consumer Protection Board Finds Toys With Unsafe Lead Levels Remain on Store Shelves

The state Consumer Protection Board’s (CPB) Safe Toys NY Campaign has found that toys with unsafe lead levels remain on store shelves across the state, Governor Eliot Spitzer announced last week. The CPB, with the help of the Departments of Health (DOH) and Agriculture and Markets, conducted sweeps of more than 2,800 stores looking for recalled products and found approximately 620 recalled toy items still on the shelves.

The CPB launched Safe Toys NY, a massive public awareness campaign, in November to assist consumers in discerning the safety of toys, to educate consumers, inform toy makers and retailers about safety … Read the rest

Childrens’ Toy Aqua Dots Recalled for Containing a Chemical That When Eaten Converts Into “Date Rape Drug”

Aqua Dots, a/k/a Aqua Beads, a Chinese-made toy, was recalled Wednesday, November 7, 2007, by the Consumer Product Safety Commission after two children in the United States and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads.

Aqua Dots are packets of brightly colored beads that children arrange into mosaic designs. When sprinkled with water, the beads then stick together in as little as 10 minutes to form durable artworks. The toy was pulled from shelves after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a dangerous, potentially fatal drug when eaten. The chemical coating on the beads, when … Read the rest

Hospital’s Mistaken Medication Overdose of Dennis Quaid’s 2-Week Old Twins Underscores a Big Problem in Health System

Each year at least 1.5 million Americans are injured – and 15,000 die – after receiving the wrong medication or an incorrect dose, says the federal Institute of Medicine. Such incidents have more than doubled in the past decade. Causes include pharmacists stocking drugs improperly, nurses not double-checking to make sure they are dispensing the proper medication, illegible handwriting by doctors, and similarities between names of different drugs.

In the incident involving Dennis Quaid’s 2-week old twins, they were given 1,000 times the intended dosage of the blood thinner Heparin at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in … Read the rest

Top U.S. Official for Protecting Consumer Product Safety Wants LESS Money and Clout to Enforce Consumer Protection Laws Than Senate Committee Approves

In an attempt to rectify problems and ensure the safety of our children, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation voted yesterday to approve a bill which would overhaul federal standards on consumer products, and includes vital whistle-blower provisions to protect employees who report consumer safety violations. Yet notwithstanding the widely reported recalls of children’s products and the real risks posed to consumers, the top U.S. official for consumer product safety, Nancy A. Nord, the acting chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), had asked Congress in recent days to reject the legislation.

Thus far this year, Read the rest

New York Attorney General Issues Subpoena to Facebook Amid Concerns for Safety of Its Underage Users

The Office New York State Attorney General (“OAG”) Andrew Cuomo subpoenaed Facebook for documents related to Facebook’s safety and security representations and complaint resolution mechanisms. The OAG stated that it is concerned that Facebook’s public statements and advertising may be materially misleading and may constitute violations of General Business Law 349 and 350 and Executive Law 63(12). According to the OAG’s letter to Facebook, the OAG, after a preliminary review of Facebook.com, has uncovered evidence demonstrating that (1) underage users are targeted by sexual predators on Facebook, (2) there is widespread pornographic and obscene content of Facebook, and (3) Facebook’s … Read the rest

Hazards Associated with Children’s Toys Go Well Beyond China and Lead Paint

2007 is on its way to becoming the year when more toys were recalled than any other year in the history of the toy industry. As of August 15, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) had recalled 40 toys, which extrapolates to 56 recalls by the end of the year. Much attention has been paid to the problem of toys colored with lead paint. Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, announced three major recalls, involving some 20 million items. The company said a number of toy cars and Barbie-related accessories had been colored with lead paint. … Read the rest

Kid Nation Controversy

“40 Kids have 40 days to build a brave new world without adults to help or hinder their efforts,” says CBS in describing its new controversial show, Kid Nation.

The program, set to debut on September 19th, is being described as a hybrid of CBS’s Survivor and Rudyard Kipling’s Lord of the Flies. During the 40 days, the children, aged 8 to 15, cooked, cleaned, formed a government, and ran a business without the supervision of any adults in a deserted New Mexico location (which is reported to be a town created with old movie sets). The filming … Read the rest