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    Congressman wants action on battery fires, explosions

    Wants to know what the CPSC and FDA are doing about the problem

    A New Jersey Congressman would like to energize the federal agencies he thinks should be doing more about the problem of fires and explosions caused by lithium-ion batteries.

    The problem is not exactly new. The batteries have been causing problems for years, in hoverboards, laptops, smartphones, e-cigarettes and other gadgets, and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should do something about it.

    In a letter to the heads of each agency, Pallone is asking for a briefing to find out what, if anything, is being done. He notes that both agencies made an initial effort but that not much appears to have happened since then. 

    Known fire risks

    “For at least a decade, the known fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries has resulted in countless Americans suffering from burns and disfigurements,” Pallone wrote. “It is a welcome start that CPSC has directed staff to address battery hazards, and that FDA has conducted a public workshop to explore the dangers of e-cigarette batteries. But work at both of your agencies has only just begun to address known battery safety problems that have harmed consumers. The federal government – through CPSC, FDA, and other agencies – must take even more decisive action with regard to the batteries themselves.”

    Specifically, Pallone asked:

    • What are CPSC and FDA doing to collect data on the number of incidences of dangerous battery safety failures, such as fires or explosions?
    • What research has staff at CPSC and FDA done to inform policy actions, such as a consumer product safety rule or other safety standards?
    • What are CPSC and FDA doing to coordinate with each other and with other federal agencies?
    • Do CPSC and FDA have adequate resources to address battery safety problems in consumer devices?

    Pallone is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His letter went to CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle and FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

    A New Jersey Congressman would like to energize the federal agencies he thinks should be doing more about the problem of fires and explosions caused by lit...
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      Early-stage breast cancer patients may get too much treatment

      Cancer researchers say medical guidelines aren't being followed

      Besides the physical and emotional toll a disease like cancer takes, there is also the financial toll. For example, some drugs used to treat cancer are extremely expensive. For patients, there is definitely a financial aspect to managing their disease.

      Now, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are producing evidence that many women with early-stage breast cancer are getting treatment that may be a waste of money.

      Specifically, they say patients often receive advanced imaging and other tests that provide little, if any medical benefit. In fact, they say these procedures could have harmful effects, and it's likely they will make the treatment more expensive.

      Guidelines not being followed

      Study leader Dr. Gary Lyman, a breast cancer oncologist, says current guidelines recommend against routine surveillance testing for patients in the early stage of breast cancer, but they're frequently performed anyway.

      Lyman says the guidelines were drawn up to help patients and doctors make the best decisions, based on the best medical evidence. The guidelines specifically recommend against the routine use of advanced imaging scans and costly blood tests to track tumor markers.

      That's because there have been several studies that have shown the patient gets no benefit, and there's a strong likelihood of false-positive results that can lead to unnecessary procedures, such as radiation treatment.

      Message not getting through

      But the Hutchinson researchers say the message isn't getting through. Their review of records in more than 2,000 early-stage breast cancer cases found that 37% percent received tumor-marker tests during the post-treatment surveillance period. On average, there were 2.8 tests per patient.

      While there are obvious health concerns, Lyman said these patients faced costs higher than the patients who didn't get the extra tests and procedures.

      "We believe one of the best ways we can help patients reduce their financial burden is for us to reinforce the message with oncologists that these tests have been shown to provide no benefit for this particular group of patients,” said Lyman.

      Lyman and the research team will present the findings early next month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

      The cost of treating breast cancer varies by the stage, with the lowest costs during early stages. An analysis of treatment costs by the National Institutes of Health placed average costs, in the first 24 months after diagnosis, at $72,000 for early-stage breast cancer.

      Besides the physical and emotional toll a disease like cancer takes, there is also the financial toll. For example, some drugs used to treat cancer are ext...
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      Pier 1 Imports recalls Temani wicker furniture

      The paint used can contain excessive levels of lead

      Pier 1 Imports of Fort Worth, Texas, is recalling about 2,600 Temani ivory wicker chair, settee and ottoman collections sold in the U.S. and Canada.

      The paint used on the wicker furniture can contain excessive levels of lead, which is a violation of the federal lead paint standard.

      No incidents or injuries are reported.

      This recall involves the Pier 1 Imports Temani collection, which includes a chair, settee and ottoman. They are ivory colored, made of rattan wicker, and were sold without a cushion.

      The chair measures 29 inches wide, 29.5 inches deep and 35.5 inches high, the settee measures 51.5 inches wide, 29.5 inches deep and 35.5 inches high, and the ottoman measures 27 inches wide, 18 inches deep and 16 inches high.

      The furniture has a Pier 1 Imports logo on the underside of each chair, settee and ottoman.

      The recall involves only the ivory-colored Temani collection.

      The furniture, manufactured in Indonesia, was sold exclusively at Pier 1 Imports stores nationwide and online at www.Pier1.com from March 2014, to April 2017, for between $140 and $560.

      What to do

      Consumers should stop using the recalled furniture immediately and return it to any Pier 1 Imports store for a full refund or a merchandise credit.

      Consumers may contact Pier 1 Imports toll-free at 855-513-5140 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Saturday, or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) Sunday or online at www.Pier1.com and click on “Product Notes & Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      Pier 1 Imports of Fort Worth, Texas, is recalling about 2,600 Temani ivory wicker chair, settee and ottoman collections sold in the U.S. and Canada.The...
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