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Fisher-Price Recalls Wheelies Rampway Toys

Fisher-Price Recalls Wheelies Rampway Toys...


Fisher-Price is recalling about 120,000 Wheelies Rampway toys. The wheels on the purple and the green cars can come off, posing a choking hazard to young children.

There have been two reports of a wheel detaching from a vehicle. No injuries have been reported.

The recall involves Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway with model numbers T4261 and V6378. They were sold with small cars that a child can push down winding ramps. Only the purple and the green cars that are marked "Mexico" and do not have a yellow dot on the bottom are included in the recall. The toy is intended for children 1 1/2 to 5 years of age.

The toys were sold at mass merchandise stores nationwide from April 2010 through September 2010 for about $45.

Consumers should immediately take the affected purple and the green cars away from children and contact Fisher-Price for free replacement cars.

For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.service.mattel.com.


Recalled Wheelies rampway set


Recalled Wheelies rampway set


Recalled Wheelies


Recalled Wheelie bottom, stamped "MEXICO"

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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How Twitter Can Track Flu Outbreaks

Using social network cheaper than current tracking systems, expert claims

How Twitter Can Track Flu Outbreaks...


Twitter might be something more than a way to keep the world posted on your every thought and action. It just might help health officials track disease, especially the flu.

Aron Culotta, assistant professor of computer science at Southeastern Louisiana University, has found that keeping track of influenza outbreaks has the potential to be far quicker and less costly by monitoring a social network program such as Twitter than following the traditional methods of disease surveillance.

A process called syndromic surveillance uses collected health-related data to alert health officials to the probability of an outbreak of disease, typically influenza or other contagious diseases. The technique involves collecting data from hospitals, clinics and other sources, a labor-intensive and time consuming approach.

By monitoring a social network such as Twitter, researchers can capture comments from people with the flu who are sending out status messages.

A micro-blogging service such as Twitter is a promising new data source for Internet-based surveillance because of the volume of messages, their frequency and public availability, Culotta said. This approach is much cheaper and faster than having thousands of hospitals and health care providers fill out forms each week.

The Centers for Disease Control produces weekly estimates, he notes ut those reports typically lag a week or two behind.

This approach produces estimates daily, Culotta said.

500 million Tweets

Culotta and two student assistants analyzed more than 500 million Twitter messages over the eight-month period of August 2009 to May 2010, collected using Twitters application programming interface (API). By using a small number of keywords to track rates of influenza-related messages on Twitter, the team was able to forecast future influenza rates.

Once the program is running, its actually neither time consuming nor expensive, he said. Its entirely automated because were running software that samples each days messages, analyzes them and produces an estimate of the current proportion of people with the flu.

Southeasterns group obtained a 95 percent correlation with the national health statistics collected by the CDC. In addition, the results were comparable to figures collected by Google with its Flu Trends service, which tracks influenza rates by analyzing trends in query terms.

Culotta said the statistics he collected were for the whole country. His future work will look at extracting information from messages that include more location-specific data. This would allow him to more easily segment reporting information by regions. He is also planning a Web site that will display his results in real time, being developed in collaboration with graduate student Matthew Gill and computer science senior Ross Murray.

The Twitter advantage

Culotta said using Twitter has an advantage over Google because the high message and posting frequency of Twitter enables up-to-the minute analysis of an outbreak. Twitter, he said, reports having more than 105 million users posting nearly 65 million messages a day. Approximately 300,000 new users are added daily.

Despite the fact that Twitter appears targeted to a young demographic, it does in fact have quite a diverse set of users, he said. The majority of Twitters nearly 10 million unique visitors in February 2009 were over 35 years old, and a nearly equal percentage of users are between the ages 55 and 64 as between 18 and 24.



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Fisher-Price Recalls Children's Trikes

Fisher-Price Recalls Children's Trikes...


Fisher-Price is recalling moer than seven million children's trikes. A child can strike, sit or fall on the protruding plastic ignition key resulting in serious injury, including genital bleeding.

There have been 10 reports of incidents resulting in injury. Six of the incidents required medical attention after young girls, ages two to three years old, fell against or on the protruding disc-shaped and D-shaped pretend key.

This recall involves the Fisher-Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles with model numbers listed in the chart below and that have either a disc-shaped or D-shaped pretend key. The model numbers are located under the seat in the storage compartment. The trikes are intended for children 2 to 5 years of age.

The pretend keys are located about 3 inches in front of the seat and protrude at least 5/8 inches above the trike's body. The trikes manufactured after June 16, 2010 are not included in this recall. These trikes have a modified key in a flattened D shape (see picture below) and a manufacturer run number higher than 1670Q2. The run number indicates the trike was manufactured on the 167th day of 2010 or on June 16, 2010. The run number is found under the seat below the model number.

The trikes were sold at mass merchandise stores nationwide from January 1997 through September 2010 for about $25.

Consumers should immediately place the trikes out of children's reach and contact Fisher-Price for a free replacement key.

For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.service.mattel.com.


Recalled trikes' ignition key location


INCLUDED IN THIS RECALL
Recalled trikes&squot; "disc"-shaped ignition keyRecalled trikes&squot; "D"-shaped ignition key
DISC-SHAPED KEYD-SHAPED KEY




NOT INCLUDED IN THIS RECALL
Recalled trikes&squot; flattened "D"-shaped ignition key
FLATTENED D-SHAPED KEY



MODELS INCLUDED IN THIS RECALL
J72633 Hot Wheels TrikeRecalled Hot Wheels Trike
72639 Barbie Free Spirit TrikeRecalled Barbie Free Spirit Trike
72642 Lil Kawasaki Trike
PHOTO NOT
AVAILABLE
 
72643 Boys Tough TrikeRecalled Boys Tough Trike
72644 Girls Tough Trike
PHOTO NOT
AVAILABLE
 
72792 Kawasaki TrikeRecalled Kawasaki Trike
B8775 Kawasaki Tough TrikeRecalled Kawasaki Tough Trike
B8776 Barbie Tough TrikeRecalled Barbie Tough Trike
K6672 Dora the Explorer Tough TrikeRecalled Dora the Explorer Tough Trike
K6673 Diego Tough TrikeRecalled Diego Tough Trike
M5727 Barbie Tough Trike Princess Ride-OnRecalled Barbie Tough Trike Princess Ride-On
N6021 Kawasaki Tough TrikeRecalled Kawasaki Tough Trike
T6209 Thomas Tough TrikeRecalled Thomas Tough Trike
V4270 Diego Tough TrikeRecalled Diego Tough Trike

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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The Hidden Health Risks of Texting

Increase in hand and finger injuries coincides with increase in texting

With over 152.7 billion text messages sent per month in the US alone, it is becoming clear that people are shifting their primary method of communication f...


When you think of risks associated with sending text messages, chances are you think of the dangers of texting while driving. But could there be other, not so obvious health issues associated with sending short messages from your mobile phone?

Perhaps. Doctors report more patients complaining of tingling, numbness and pain in their fingers and wrists. Is it just tired hands or something more serious?

Since this is a relatively recent complaint, at least in large numbers, physicians are looking around for a recent phenomenon that might explain it. Their attention quickly fell on texting.

152.7 billion texts

With over 152.7 billion text messages sent per month in the United States alone, it is becoming clear that people are shifting their primary method of communication from voices to hands and fingers. Does this shift explain the injuries?

While these complaints can all be signs of tired, overused hands, these symptoms can also indicate something more serious, such as a repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, aggravation of arthritis or sprains, and even carpal tunnel syndrome, doctors say.

It is important that patients dont dismiss symptoms of sore fingers, occasional numbness and tingling, says George Kardashian, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist at The Center for Bone and Joint Disease in Hudson, FL. These symptoms are all the bodys way of saying it needs a break or a more serious injury will occur.

Interestingly, despite the common conception that typing and texting cause carpal tunnel; there is no scientific evidence proving that keyboard use leads to carpal tunnel. That is why it is so important for people to go see their doctors when experiencing symptoms in their hands and wrists, instead of trying to self-diagnose.

How to Prevent Serious Injuries

Since it is almost impossible to stop using mobile devices or computers completely, it is important to know how to prevent these symptoms from turning from sore, tired fingers into something more severe.

Kardashian suggests patients take frequent breaks from texting and typing and stretch the affected areas if experiencing any symptoms. If pain and/or swelling exist, use ice packs to reduce swelling while giving your hands a rest. Also, for those individuals who spend most of their day in front of a computer it is important to have an ergonomic workstation.

Be aware of the additional strain you are putting on your hands, fingers, thumbs and wrists, Kardashian said. Taking precautions by stretching and resting your hands and wrists will allow your body to recover.



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Fisher-Price Recalls Infant Toys with Inflatable Balls

Fisher-Price Recalls Infant Toys with Inflatable Balls...


Fisher-Price is recalling nearly three million infant toys with inflatable balls because the valve of the ball can come off and pose a choking hazard.

The recalled products are: Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade, Baby Gymtastics Play Wall, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball, Bat & Score Goal

There have been 46 reports of incidents where the valve came off in the US and eight reports in Canada. These include 14 reports of the valve found in a child's mouth and three reports of a child beginning to choke. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the products listed below:

ProductApproximate
Retail Price
and Dates Sold
Product Description 
73408Baby Playzone™
Crawl & Cruise
Playground™
$50

July 2001 to
October 2003
6 months & up

Playzone has three play modes
for crawling, to pulling up and
cruising, to walking in and out
Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground
B2408Baby Playzone™
Crawl & Slide
Arcade™
$48

April 2003 to
January 2004
9 months & up

Baby arcade converts to baby's
first slide.
Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade
C3068Ocean Wonders™
Kick & Crawl™
Aquarium
$28

October 2003 to
September 2005
Birth & Up

A soft gym with two toy bars. The
gym converts to a crawl-through
play space.
Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium
H5704Baby Gymtastics™
Play Wall
$68

April 2005 to
January 2007
6 to 36 months

Play wall with activities
Baby Gymtastics Play Wall
H8094Ocean Wonders™
Kick & Crawl™
Aquarium
$36

June 2005 to
March 2008
Birth & Up

A soft gym that features two
toy bars. The gym converts to
a crawl-through play space.
Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium
J03271-2-3 Tetherball™$20

September 2005 to
March 2008
6 months & Up

Big inflatable ball (Approximately
12 inches in diameter) with light
up base.
1-2-3 Tetherball
K0476Bat & Score Goal™$20

May 2006 to
July 2008
6 months & Up

Baby soccer goal with detachable ball.
Bat & Score Goal

Consumers should immediately remove the inflatable ball from the product and keep away from children. Do not discard the inflatable ball. Contact Fisher-Price for a free replacement kit.

For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.service.mattel.com

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Fisher-Price Recalls Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs Due to Laceration Hazard

Fisher-Price Recalls Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs Due to Laceration Hazard...


Fisher-Price is recalling more than one million Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs sold in the United States and Canada. Children can fall on or against the pegs on the rear legs of the high chair resulting in injuries or lacerations. The pegs are used for high chair tray storage.

There have been 14 reports of incidents, including seven reports of children requiring stitches and one tooth injury.

This recall involves the Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs with pegs on the back legs intended for tray storage. The high chairs have a folding frame for storage and a three-position reclining seat. The model number and date code of the high chair is on the back of the seat.

All Easy Clean and Close To Me High Chairs are included in this recall. Only Healthy Care High Chairs manufactured before December 2006 are included in the recall. If the fourth digit in the date code is 6 or less, the Healthy Care High Chair is included in the recall.

The chairs were sold at mass merchandise retail stores nationwide from September 2001 through September 2010 for between about $70 and $115.

Consumers should stop using the High Chair immediately and contact Fisher-Price for instructions and a free repair kit.

For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.service.mattel.com.


Affected Products

(Colors, fashions and toy accessories for each High Chair vary. The picture on the right shows a back view with a close Up of the storage peg)



Healthy Care High Chair

Model Numbers: 79638, 79639, 79640, 79641, B0326, B2105, B2875, C4630, C4632,
C5936, G4406, G8659, H0796, H1152, H4864, H7241, K2927, L1912

Recalled Healthy Care High Chair Recalled Healthy Care High Chair with close up of the storage peg







Close to Me High Chair

Model Number: H8906

Recalled Close to Me High Chair Recalled Close to Me High Chair with close up of the storage peg







Easy Clean High Chair

Model Numbers: H9178, J4011, J6292, J8229

RecalledEasy Clean High Chair Recalled Easy Clean High Chair with close up of the storage peg

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Mouthwash Claims to Prevent Gum Disease, Remove Plaque Irk Feds

Listerine, CVS, Walgreen warned to stop making unproven health claims

Mouthwash Claims to Prevent Gum Disease, Remove Plaque Irk Feds...


Three companies that manufacture and market mouth rinse products have received letters from the Food and drug Administration (FDA) regarding claims that their products remove plaque above the gum line or promote healthy gums.

These claims suggest the products are effective in preventing gum disease when the FDA contends no such benefit has been demonstrated.

Warning letters were sent to Johnson & Johnson (Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash), CVS Corporation (CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash) and Walgreen Company (Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action).

Lack of evidence

These mouth rinse products contain the active ingredient sodium fluoride. The FDA has determined that sodium fluoride is effective in preventing cavities but has not found this ingredient to be effective in removing plaque or preventing gum disease.

"It is important for the FDA to take appropriate enforcement action when companies make false or unproven product claims to ensure that consumers are not misinformed or misled," said Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Under federal law, a company cannot claim its product is effective in treating a disease unless those claims have been reviewed and approved by the FDA in a new drug application or the active ingredient has been generally recognized as safe and effective for these claims in an over-the-counter (OTC) drug monograph.

The FDA actions are part of the agency's effort to curtail an increasing number of Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) violations among the makers/marketers of mouthwashes concerning unproven claims of therapeutic benefits.

To date, the FDA is unaware of any injuries or adverse health effects related to the use of these mouth rinse products. Consumers who have these products may continue to use the products for cavity prevention without risk of injury but should be aware that the FDA has no data to show that these products can prevent gum disease.

Companies that received FDA warning letters are required to take appropriate action to correct these violations within 15 days. Failure to do so may result in seizure of the product, or other civil or criminal penalties.



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Black & Deckerm Craftsman Recall Cordless Electric Lawnmowers

Black & Decker, Craftsman Recall Cordless Electric Lawnmowers...


Black & Decker and Craftsman are recalling about 160,000 cordless electric lawnmowers. The lawnmowers motor and blade can unexpectedly turn on after the mowers safety key is removed, posing a laceration hazard to consumers. Removing the safety key is designed to keep this from occurring.

Black & Decker has received 34 reports of the motor operating after removal of the safety key, including two incidents that resulted in finger lacerations, one requiring stitches.

photo

The recalled cordless electric mowers were sold under both the Black & Decker and Craftsman brand names. The recalled Black & Decker mowers have model number CMM1000 or CMM1000R. All date codes and types are included. The date code and type information are both located on a silver and black label affixed to the rear door of the mower. The Black & Decker mowers have either an orange or green deck with a black motor cover. The Craftsman-brand mowers have model number 900.370520 and include all date codes and types. The model number is located on the silver and black label affixed to the rear door of the mower. The Craftsman-brand mowers have a dark green deck with a black motor cover.

The lawnmowers were sold at home center, hardware and discount stores and authorized Black & Decker dealers nationwide from September 1995 through December 2006 for about $450. Craftsman-brand mowers were sold at Sears and Orchard Supply Hardware stores nationwide from January 1998 through December 2000 for about $450.

Consumers should stop using the recalled lawnmowers immediately and call Black & Decker or Sears for a free inspection and repair, or a credit towards a new cordless lawnmower. Consumers who had their mowers repaired as a result of the previous recalls should also have their mowers inspected and repaired as part of this recall.

For additional information, consumers with Black & Decker mowers should contact Black & Decker toll-free at (866) 229-5570 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firms website at www.blackanddecker.com. Consumers with Craftsman-brand mowers should call Sears toll-free at (888) 281-5314 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Saturday or visit the firms website at www.sears.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Sunrise Medical Recalls Quickie Shark Bikes Recalled

Sunrise Medical Recalls Quickie Shark Bikes...

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photo Sunrise Medical LLC is recalling about 20 Quickie Shark Bikes. The custom footrests can break, posing a risk of injury to the rider.

This recall involves Quickie Shark bikes with custom footrests that are designed for use by disabled persons. Model numbers included in the recall are SB472900001 and SB471900001. Model and serials numbers are printed on the right side of the bike frame. Serial numbers included in the recall are: KS910634, KS933266, KS935245, KF130177, KF130177, KF138342, KF157355, KF182230, KF214063, KF214095, KF228670, KF230678, KF268500, KF271632, KF275166, KF341126, KF344298 and KF370981.

The bikes, made in Germany, were sold by Sunrise Medical authorized dealers nationwide from March 2007 through October 2009 for about $4,300.

Consumers should immediately stop using the bikes and contact Sunrise Medical or their Sunrise Medical dealer for instructions on how to obtain replacement footrests.

For more information, contact Sunrise Medical at (888) 208-4901 anytime, or visit the firm's website at www.sunrisemedical.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Molenaar LLC Recalls Electroluminescent Night Lights Due to Fire and Shock Hazard

Molenaar LLC Recalls Electroluminescent Night Lights Due to Fire and Shock Hazard...

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Molenaar LLC is recalling about 315,000 Electroluminescent night lights. The night lights can become hot to the touch and melt, resulting in risk of possible shock or fire.

The firm is aware of 4 incidents of the night lights melting, resulting in minor property damage. No injuries have been reported.

photo

Two models of the night lights are being recalled. One model, Model No. 2019, is shaped like a house. The other, Model No. 2017, is square-shaped with a rounded top. The night lights glow green when plugged into an electrical outlet. 71980 U.S.A. is molded into the night lights back panel, just above the brass outlet prongs. The night lights may have the brand names or logos of various companies printed on the front.

The recalled night lights were distributed free as promotional products by various companies imprinted with various company names between October 2001 and November 2009. They were made in the U.S.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled night lights and throw them away.

For additional information, contact Molenaar at (877) 719-4442 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the firms website at www.miline.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Siemens and Murray Circuit Breakers, Load Centers and Meter Combos Recalled

Siemens and Murray Circuit Breakers, Load Centers and Meter Combos Recalled...

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Siemens Industry Inc. is recalling about 2.2 million Siemens and Murray Circuit Breakers, Load Centers and Meter Combos.

The recalled circuit breakers have a spring clip that can break during normal use, leading to a loss of force to maintain a proper electrical connection in the panelboard. This can lead to excessive temperature, arcing or thermal damage at the connection point, and damage to the panelboards electrical insulation and can result in a fire, property damage, or personal injury.

Siemens has received one report of a circuit breaker spring clip that broke during installation. No injuries have been reported.

photo

This recall involves Siemens and Murray 15 through 50 AMP single and double pole circuit breakers, load centers (circuit breakers that come with an electrical panel), and meter combos (contain a load center and a meter socket). Siemens or Murray, date codes 0610 or 0710 and the catalog number are printed on a label on the side of the circuit breakers. Date codes between June 2010 through August 2010 are stamped on the inside of the metal box of the load centers and meter combos. The catalog number for the load centers and meter combos is printed on a label inside the metal box door and on the packaging.

ProductDate CodesCatalog Numbers
Circuit Breakers0610, 0710Q115, Q120, Q130, Q215, Q230, Q250, MP115, MP115U, MP120, MP130, MP215, MP230, MP230U, MP250
Load CentersJun 23 2010 Aug 25 2010G2020B1100CP, G3030B1100CP, G4040B1200CUSGP, LC4040B1200P, G3040B1200CP, G3040L1200CP, G4040B1200CP, G3030B1150CP, W3040B1200CP, G1624L1125CP, W4040B1200CP
Meter ComboJun 23 2010 Aug 25 2010JA2040B1200SP

The items were sold at The Home Depot, Lowes, other hardware and building supply stores and numerous electrical distributors nationwide from June 2010 through August 2010 for between $2.50 to $235. They were made in Mexico.

Consumers should immediately contact Siemens for a free inspection by an electrician and a free replacement product.

For additional information, contact Siemens at (800) 756-6996 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firms website at www.usa.siemens.com

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Astra Zeneca Pays $520 Million to Settle Seroquel Charges

Company accused of promoting off-label uses through kickbacks to doctors

Astra Zeneca Pays $520 Million to Settle Seroquel Charges...


AstraZeneca has agreed to to pay $520 million to settle claims of off-label drug marketing of its antipsychotic drug Seroquel.

The joint federal and state investigation alleged that AstraZeneca engaged in a pattern of unlawful marketing activity, including "off-label" marketing and kickbacks to promote and sell Seroquel.

Off-label marketing involves promoting a drug for uses that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While it is not illegal for a physician to prescribe a drug for an unapproved use, federal law prohibits a manufacturer from promoting a drug for uses not approved by the FDA.

According to the settlement, from Jan. 1, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2006, AstraZeneca promoted the sale and use of Seroquel for certain uses that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not approved.

The settlement also resolves allegations that the companys promotional activities were directed not only to psychiatrists but to primary care physicians and other health care professionals for unapproved uses in treatment of medical conditions such as aggression, Alzheimers disease, anger management, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and sleeplessness.

Additionally, AstraZeneca allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to doctors, including gifts, and complimentary visits to resort locations to advise AstraZeneca about marketing messages and articles, and to conduct studies for unapproved uses of Seroquel. Federal law prohibits payment of anything of value in exchange for prescribing a product paid for by a federal health care program.

The settlement also resolves claims that, as a result of their promotional activities, AstraZeneca caused physicians to prescribe Seroquel for children, adolescents and dementia patients in long term care facilities.

As part of the settlement, AstraZeneca is required to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the companys future marketing and sales practices

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New Birth Control Pill Wins FDA Approval

Beyaz tablets prevent pregnancy, also raise folate levels just in case

New Birth Control Pill Wins FDA Approval - Beyaz tablets prevent pregnancy, also raise folate levels just in case ...


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new birth control pill, Beyaz, an estrogen/progestin combined oral contraceptive that also contains a folate, a vitamin that can help prevent birth defects and is recommended for use by all women of childbearing age.

The folate, levomefolate calcium is a metabolite of folic acid, a water-soluble B-vitamin that helps produce and maintain new cells in the body. A known association of low folate levels and neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida) has resulted in recommendations that women of childbearing age supplement their diet with folate.

Beyaz, manufactured by Bayer, is based on the approved product YAZ, which contains the same doses of estrogen and progestin, and is approved for:

• Prevention of pregnancy
• Treatment of symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in women who choose to use an oral contraceptive for contraception and
• Treatment of moderate acne vulgaris in women at least 14 years of age, only if the patient desires an oral contraceptive for birth control.

In addition to the approved YAZ indications, Beyaz also is approved for the secondary indication in women who choose to use an oral contraceptive as their method of contraception, to raise folate levels for the purpose of reducing the risk of a neural tube defect in a pregnancy conceived while taking the product or shortly after discontinuing the product.

The most common side effects reported by users of combined oral contraceptives are irregular uterine bleeding, nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches. Other serious side effects include vascular events (blood clots) and liver disease. Women over age 35 who smoke should not use this product as cigarette smoking increases further the risk of serious cardiovascular events.

The common adverse events for Beyaz are expected to be the same as those for YAZ. There were no findings from the clinical trials with Beyaz to suggest a change in the overall safety profile compared to that of YAZ.



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How Salmonella Outwits Your Immune System

Salmonella food poisoning can be fatal; eggs, peanut butter, produce, meat all possible pathogen pathways

Salmonella food poisoning can be fatal; eggs, peanut butter, produce, meat all possible pathogen pathways...


What with contaminated eggs, peanut butter, produce and meat, we've heard a lot about Salmonella over the past sever al years. But what exactly is it and how does it do what it does?

Salmonella enterica -- a common cause of food poisoning -- exploits the immune response in the human gut to enhance its own survival.

Salmonella strategy

The strategy, which improves reproductive and transmission success, gives Salmonella a growth advantage over the beneficial bacteria that normally are present in the intestinal tract, researchers report in the journal Nature. This advantage promotes the severe diarrhea that spreads the bacteria to other people.

"The human body normally has 10 times more microbes than human cells that help protect us against infection from disease-causing bacteria," says Andreas Baumler, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of California, Davis, and the study's principal investigator. "We have discovered Salmonella's cunning trick that allows it to quickly take over and outgrow the beneficial microbes in our intestine."

All bacteria must generate energy in order to live and reproduce, either by respiration -- which usually requires oxygen -- or fermentation.

Because essentially no oxygen is available in our intestines, the beneficial bacteria that reside there tend to use fermentation, which is less efficient than respiration for obtaining energy.

When people ingest Salmonella, it invades the surface of the intestine. Our immune system responds by producing oxygen radicals to kill the bacteria.

Surprising discovery

Although some Salmonella bacteria are killed by this response, many more benefit: the oxygen radicals create a sulfur compound called tetrathionate, which Salmonella are able to use instead of oxygen for respiration.

Interestingly, tetrathionate has been used since 1923 by microbiologists as a way to promote the growth of Salmonella in biological samples containing competing microbes.

But because tetrathionate was not known to exist in living people, it was assumed prior to this study that this process had little relevance for food poisoning.

Up until now, tetrathionate was believed to mainly exist naturally in decaying corpses or in thermal springs.

"Stimulating the host to produce tetrathionate enables Salmonella to 'breathe' in the intestine," says Sebastian Winter, who is a member of Baumler's laboratory and lead author of the article. "This gives Salmonella a tremendous advantage over the gut bacteria that must grow by fermentation."

By stimulating an inflammatory response in the intestine, Salmonella also enhances its transmission to other hosts. The inflammatory response causes the severe diarrhea and vomiting that is the body's attempt to rid itself of the pathogenic bacteria, at the same time enabling Salmonella's spread.

"Determining how Salmonella is so efficient in outcompeting resident beneficial bacteria is a critical first step in developing new drugs for treating food poisoning," says Baumler, whose group is now pursuing this avenue of research. "We are hopeful that by targeting sulfur compounds we can stop the bacteria from establishing a foothold in the intestine."

Additional researchers at UC Davis and Texas A&M; University contributed to the work, which was funded by Public Health Service grants.



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Food Allergy Danger Seen in Quorn Fungus Foods

'Mycoprotein' meat substitute linked to vomiting, diarrhea, and worse

AU officials are being urged to prohibit the sale of Quorn brand meat substitutes, which are made from a fungus grown in giant vats, from hence a protein-r...

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Cancer of the Colon Screenings Often Skipped, Study Finds

Failure to complete subsequent screenings compromises the test's effectiveness

Cancer of the Colon Screenings Often Skipped, Study Finds...

September 23, 2010
Inconsistent use of a simple, reliable test to screen for early colorectal cancer may be compromising the tool's effectiveness in reducing death rates from the disease.

A new study finds that many patients who initiate stool blood testing do not complete subsequent screenings as recommended by screening guidelines.

Stool testing to detect microscopic amounts of blood has been endorsed worldwide for adults 50 and older. Trials have found that when performed annually or every other year, the test reduces colorectal cancer incidence and mortality by 33 percent.

Cost-effective tool

In the United States, colonoscopy is used more widely to screen for the disease, but stool blood testing -- at less than $25 per test -- is considered the more cost-effective method and is the key screening strategy for many health plans and for underserved and rural populations.

"Many patient and providers may not realize that this test needs to be repeated regularly to yield benefits, just like mammograms or Pap smears for women," says Joshua Fenton, assistant professor of family and community medicine at University of California at Davis.

Fenton and colleagues examined records of 11,000 patients enrolled in Group Health, a health plan based in Seattle, who had a stool blood test within a two-year period.

Follow-up on those patients found that nearly 50 percent did not repeat the test within the next two years, as recommended. Another eight percent had a different type of screening, such as sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Details of the study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholars Grant and by an HMO Cancer Research Network pilot grant, are published in the September/October issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine.



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Health Care Reform Takes Effect Today, Expanding Health Insurance Coverage for Millions

Six months after passage, measure puts new restrictions on health insurers

Health Care Reform Takes Effect Today, Expanding Health Insurance Coverage for Millions...

It's been six months since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and that means that many of the measure's most significant consumer protections become effective today.

Perhaps the most eagerly-awaited is the provision that insurance companies may no longer exclude children from health insurance policies because of pre-existing conditions. The White House says there are 72,000 uninsured children -- many with serious chronic illnesses -- who are eligible for coverage as of today.

Other new protections taking effect today:

• Children up to age 26 may now be included on their parents' health insurance policies;

• Insurers may no longer impose lifetime limits on benefits;

• Insurers may no longer drop sick customers afer "discovering" previously-undetected mistakes on their applications;

• Preventive measures like colonoscopies, mammograms and immunizations must now be covered without a co-pay;

• Consumers who join a new health plan may keep their own doctors;

• Insurance companies reimbursement decisions may now be appealed to a third party;

• Small businesses may become eligible for tax credits that make it easier for them to provide coverage to their employees;

• Early retirees, ages 55-64, may be eligible to participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program;

• Seniors who fall into the prescription "donut hole" will receive $250 rebate checks.

President Obama marked the occasion yesterday by paying a visit to a Falls Church, Va., couple, holding a "backyard summit" with Paul and Frances Brayshaw and their neighbors.

Obama said that prior to the law's passage, American families faced "horrendous" vulnerability if they became sick or lost their insurance coverage. He said the new measure gives families "some basic peace of mind."

Despite widespread political posturing and calls for the law's repeal, polls have generally found many of its provisions popular, particularly among the 14 million Americans who must now buy their insurance on the open market because they are not covered on a group health plan.

Read more about Health Care Reform.



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Similac Baby Formula Recalled

Abbott Labs says certain lots may have insect infestation

Abbott Labs is recalling certain lots of Similac-brand, powder infant formulas in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some countries in the Caribbean....

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Aging Baby Boomers To Increase Demand For Doctors

Fewer doctors entering geriatrics at a time when need is rising

Aging Baby Boomers To IncreaseDemand For Doctors...



January 2011 marks a significant milestone for the Baby Boomers generation when its first members - born in 1946 - begin the year in which they will celebrate their 65th birthdays.

The boomers transition into the years that traditionally denote the beginning of senior citizenship also draws attention to the graying of America.

Stephen G. Jones, MD, a geriatrician and expert in gerontology and director of the Center for Healthy Aging at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, says the impact these so-called Geri-Boomers will have on American health care will be significant on numerous fronts.

It is wonderful news that we are living longer, but it also creates an entirely new set of challenges for families and the health care system, Jones said. The face of medicine is going to start to change rapidly because of this transition. While the leading cause of death in America 100 years ago was infection, now true diseases of aging - cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers disease - are the leading causes.

One of the forthcoming issues, according to Jones, will be the shortage of doctors trained to care for an aging population. Geriatrics, the sub-specialty that focuses on the specific health needs of the elderly, is facing an acute shortage of physicians.

Low reimbursement rates

Low insurance reimbursements rates for the care they provide and other factors have reduced the ranks of doctors seeking Geriatrics training. In 2007 only 91 American-trained doctors sought specialty in Geriatrics compared to 167 in 2003 and spots in many fellowship programs were not filled.

Who will care for this population? While the care burden, in many instances, falls on the shoulders of primary care physicians, they, too, are facing similar challenges to keep their practices solvent and viable, Jones says.

Jones says several factors are adding to the challenge:

• Boomers will number 70 million by 2030, making them the oldest generation of seniors in history. The children of Geri-Boomers will struggle to manage care for multiple generations in their families. Rather than the sandwich generation, which refers to adults caring for both their parents and their children, Dr. Jones refers to the Club Sandwich Generation, as more adult children will be faced with the responsibilities of caring for their parents and sometimes grandchildren.

• Longevity is advancing faster than our ability to keep up with the diseases of aging. Arthritis, orthopedic problems and chronic illnesses will increasingly burden the population and the health care system.

• Alzheimers disease, which impacted about 4.5 million Americans in 2000, will more than double in incidence by the year 2030 and is likely to reach epidemic proportions by 2050. To put this illness in perspective: A new case is diagnosed every 71 seconds and one out of eight Americans 65 and older will be diagnosed. The statistics are more staggering for those 85 and older where one out of two seniors in this age range faces a possible diagnosis.

• Seniors age 85 and older are predominately female, raising new issues for women who will spend their later years widowed or single.

Read more about Senior Consumers



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Mood Rings, Necklaces Recalled Because of Lead Content

D&D Distributing is recalling about 19,000 "Love Tester" mood rings and necklaces. The metal rings and necklaces contain high levels of lead. Lead ......


D&D Distributing is recalling about 19,000 "Love Tester" mood rings and necklaces. The metal rings and necklaces contain high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

photo

This recall involves a mood necklace which is 18 inches in length and an adjustable ring. The products change colors when the user's "mood" changes. "Love Tester" and "Are You In the Mood" are labeled on the products' packaging. The products are sold separately.

The rings and necklaces, made in China, were sold by small retail stores nationwide from September 2005 through June 2010 for about $4.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled jewelry away from children and return to the store where purchased to receive a full refund or replacement product.

For additional information, contact D&D; Distributing-Wholesale at (800) 262-9435 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.dddist.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Gerson Company Recalls Glass Vases Sold at Michael's

Gerson Company Recalls Glass Vases Sold at Michael's...

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photo The Gerson Company is recalling about 212,000 20-inch glass vases because they can break or fracture, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

The firm has received nine reports of the vase shattering, including nine reports of lacerations to the hands.

The recalled vases are made of clear glass and stand about 4" wide x 20" tall. The SKU# 405334 and UPC: 0-37916-88960-3 are printed on a label on the bottom of the vase.

The vases, made in China, were sold at Michael's stores nationwide and in Canada from July 2006 through March 2010 for about $15.

Consumers should stop using the recalled vase and discard them immediately. Contact the firm for a full refund.

For additional information, contact Gerson toll-free at (877) 461-6298 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, visit the firm's website at www.gersoncompany.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Health Savings Accounts (HSA) Don't Work For Everyone

Economists also worry they may inadvertently drive up costs for conventional plans

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) Don't Work For Everyone...


As health insurance costs skyrocket, more consumers are opting for high-deductible plans. Policyholders pay more of their medical expenses themselves but have significantly lower monthly premiums.

While that's an increasingly attractive option, some health care economists say it doesn't work for everyone. It's great, they say, if you're in good health. Not so great otherwise.

According to a study at the University of Pittsburgh, healthier people are more likely to select a high-deductible health plan featuring a tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA) over a conventional plan. The authors of the study based their research on data from several employers that first offered the option in 2006.

People who are sick or have an ill family member are less likely to choose an HSA-eligible plan, according to the study. The lower the level of a patient's education the more likely they were to stick with a more conventional policy.

People who benefit already doing well

Our findings support the concern that the people who are most likely to benefit [from HSA-eligible plans] are those who are already better off in society, said lead author Judith Lave, Ph.D., a health economist at the University of Pittsburgh.

The authors analyzed data from nine large employers in western Pennsylvania as they introduced HSA-eligible plans. More than 50,000 employees chose between the new offering and a preferred provider organization (PPO) during the two years studied. The report appears online in the journal Health Services Research.

A growing number of employers have been offering HSA-eligible plans since Congress first defined them in 2003. About 10 million Americans are in such plans currently, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in Washington, D.C.

Proponents believe that the new plans can be more affordable for consumers, since higher deductibles mean lower premiums, according to the authors. Furthermore, they contend that people will use services more judiciously if they are more aware of costs. However, critics argue that if many healthier people switch to high-deductible plans, costs might rise for those remaining in conventional plans.

We may be just redistributing the costs between the sick and the well, Lave said.

Attract healthier people

Researchers are finding that in a choice environment, HSA-eligible plans do attract healthier people, said Paul Fronstin, Ph.D., of EBRI. Employers and insurance companies can take that information and modify their plans to account for it.

Employers have been experimenting with plan design for years in hopes of reducing overall health costs without reducing benefits, Fronstin said. With the new data, they could adjust deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket expenses or employer HSA contributions to steer more people toward the high-deductible plans.

Fronstin and Lave agree that the jury is still out on whether these plans can provide the solution employers are seeking.

We need better analyses of these plans with respect to overall health care spending, Lave said.



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Forest Pharmaceuticals To Plead Guilty To Violating FDA Laws

Company sold unapproved and misbranded drugs and obstructed agency investigation

Forest Pharmaceuticals To Plead Guilty To Violating FDA Laws...


Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has cut a deal with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ to accept responsibility for criminal actions including distribution of an unapproved new drug, distribution of a misbranded drug and obstruction of an FDA inspection.

To resolve these charges and a related civil suit, the company will pay more than $300 million, including $164 million in criminal penalties. The deal follows a multiyear investigation conducted by FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations in cooperation with its law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Marketing charges

Charges against Forest are primarily for its marketing of Levothroid (levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP) -- an unapproved drug used for the treatment of hypothyroidism. A 1997 Federal Register notice announced that these products are considered "new drugs" within the meaning of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and that manufacturers who wished to continue marketing these products must obtain approved applications from the FDA by August 2000.

Because levothyroxine was considered a medically necessary product, the FDA permitted a gradual phase-out with all distribution of unapproved levothyroxine sodium drug products to cease no later than August 2003.

Forest Pharmaceuticals did not obtain drug approval, increased its distribution of Levothroid rather than scaling down, and ignored a subsequent Warning Letter to stop the manufacture and distribution of Levothroid.

"These charges should serve as a warning to industry that the FDA takes seriously its role to protect the public from unapproved drugs," said Deborah M. Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Any company that operates in violation of the FDCA and ignores FDA's warnings should be aware that a criminal action could follow."

Misbranding

The firm also is charged with distribution of a misbranded drug for its off-label promotion of Celexa for pediatric use when it was approved only for use in adults. Celexa is the brand name for the prescription drug citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug for the treatment of adult depression. In addition, Forest is charged with obstructing an agency proceeding because of false statements made by its employees during a 2003 FDA inspection.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will plead guilty to all three counts and pay criminal penalties totaling $164 million. DOJ also announced that Forest and its parent company, Forest Laboratories, Inc., have agreed to pay $149 million and to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in order to resolve a related civil complaint.

Consumers should be aware that the Levothroid product currently marketed by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is not the subject of these actions. Forest Pharmaceutical's guilty plea and criminal penalties relate to the marketing of the previously unapproved Levothroid product. The current Levothroid product now has an approved New Drug Application and is compliant with FDA regulations.



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Burlington Coat Factory Recalls Hooded Jackets, Sweatshirts

Burlington Coat Factory Recalls Hooded Jackets, Sweatshirts...


photo Burlington Coat Factory is recalling about 10,000 hooded jackets and sweatshirts because they have drawstrings through the hood or waist which can pose a strangulation or entrapment hazard to children.

Based on available records, the following items are included in this recall.

Brand NameDescriptionColorSize
AeropostaleBoys' pullover
sweatshirt with
Aeropostale printed
on front
BrownBoys' size Small
Apple BottomGirls' zippered velvet
jacket with "Apple Bottom"
embroidered on back
BrownGirls' size 7 - 16
Deere ParkBoys' zippered jacketsRed and BlueBoys' sizes
Disney Winnie
the Pooh
Zippered jackets with a
picture of Winnie the Pooh
on the front of the jacket
Blue with white sleeves
with green and blue
stripes on the sleeves
2T, 3T, 4T
Gray WolfZippered jacket with
Grey Wolf tag inside
jacket and drawstring waist
Dark Blue13 - 14
Jonathon StoneZippered jacket with "55"
printed on front. "J.stone"
is printed on tag on back
of neck of the garment
Blue, red and whiteL
Kani Gold
(sold from 10/24/2008)
Boys' zippered
sweatshirt
Brown, black and greyYouth L (16/18)
MilettaZippered JacketsBlack with faux fur
cuffs and hood
Medium (9 - 10)
MirikaGirls' zippered sweatshirts
with embroidery on sleeves
RedMedium
New YorkGirls' zippered
sleeveless Sweatshirt
with "33 New York"
embroidered on jacket
Light BlueSmall
Ruff Stuff
(Date approx. 1995)
Boys' zipper and
snap close jackets
Blue and light blueSize 14 - 16
Sergio Benini
(Sept 2007)
Zippered heavy jackets
with snaps
BrownMedium

The clothing was manufactured in China, Cambodia, Korea, and United States and was sold at Burlington Coat Factory and other retailers nationwide from January 1995 through September 2009 for between $7 and $30.

Consumers should immediately remove the drawstrings from the sweatshirts to eliminate the hazard or return the garment to Burlington Coat Factory for a full refund or credit.

For additional information, contact Burlington Coat Factory toll-free at (888) 223-2628 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com


Recalled Aeropostale jacket


Recalled Aeropostale jacket label


Recalled Apple Bottom jacket


Recalled Apple Bottom jacket back


Recalled Deere Park jacket


Recalled Deere Park jacket label


Recalled Disney jacket


Recalled Disney jacket label


Recalled Gray Wolf jacket


Recalled Gray Wolf jacket label


Recalled Jonathon Stone jacket


Recalled Jonathon Stone jacket label


Recalled Kani Gold jacket


Recalled Kani Gold jacket label


Recalled Miletta jacket


Recalled jacket label


Recalled Mirika jackets


Recalled Mirika jacket label


Recalled New York jacket


Recalled New York jacket label


Recalled Ruff Stuff jacket


Recalled Ruff Stuff jacket label


Recalled Sergio Benini jacket

Recalled Sergio Benini jacket label

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Chuck E. Cheese's Recalls More Than 1 Million Toys

CPSC says the recalled items pose a hazard to children

Chuck E. Cheese's Recalls More Than 1 Million Toys...


photo Chuck E. Cheese's is recalling more than one million light-up rings and toy glasses because of concerns that children could swallow a small battery inside the playthings.

The national restaurant chain voluntarily pulled off the market approximately 1,100,000 light-up rings and 120,000 toy star glasses, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Swallowing hazard

The plastic casing on the Chinese-made toys can break into small pieces if crushed or pulled apart and possibly expose the batteries, federal regulators warned. If swallowed, the batteries could damage a child's stomach, intestine, esophagus, or nasal mucus membrane.

CPSC said it has received two reports of injuries linked to the light-up rings. One incident involved a child who swallowed the battery. The second involved a child who inserted the battery into his nostrils. There are no reports of injuries associated with the star glasses, the agency said.

Chuck E. Cheese's distributed the light-up rings from April 2009 through June 2010 as promotional items or during parent-teacher association conventions. The plastic rings came in several colors, are 1 1/8 inches across, and have a black elastic band.

The restaurant chain put the red translucent plastic star glasses in its birthday packages from April through August of 2010. The glasses are about 5 1/2 inches across, 2 1/2 inches tall, and have the words Chuck E. Cheese's painted on the side.

Return process

CPSC advises consumers to take the recalled toys away from children immediately and return them to any Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant. The company will give consumers a $1 refund plus four game tokens or a Soccer Promo-Cup plus four tokens for the light-up rings. Consumers who return the star glasses can either receive a $4.99 refund or a Flashing Hands prize.

For more information, consumers may contact Chuck E. Cheese's at (888) 778-7193 or send the company an e-mail at guestrelations@cecentertainment.com.

The CPSC is encouraging consumers to report any problems they've experienced with these recalled toys to the agency.

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Giant Starbuilder Sets Recalled by Edushape

Giant Starbuilder Sets Recalled by Edushape...

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photo Giant Starbuilders and Giant Stars Building Sets are being recalled by Edushape. Plastic knobs can break from the center of the star, posing a choking hazard to young children.

CPSC and Edushape have received three reports of knobs breaking off from the center of the star. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves all Giant Starbuilders and Giant Stars building sets. The giant stars measure 5-inches in diameter and are made of opaque plastic. Each star has six knobs protruding from a ring-shaped center. The Giant Starbuilder set contains red, green, yellow and blue stars. The Giant Star building set contains red, green, yellow, blue, orange and pink stars.

The sets, made in China, were sold at small retail stores nationwide and online at Target.com, Toys R Us.com, Amazon.com and CSN through Walmart Marketplace from January 2007 through May 2010 for between $25 and $35.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled star blocks away from children and contact Edushape for a replacement set or credit towards another Edushape product of equal or lesser value.

For additional information, contact Edushape at (800) 404-4744 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firms website at www.edushape.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Pomegranate Juice Maker Sues FTC, Challenging Advertising Restrictions

POM Wonderful says its free-speech rights are being violated

Pomegranate Juice Maker Sues FTC, Challenging Advertising Restrictions...

By Truman Lewis
ConsumerAffairs.com


Most news stories about lawsuits and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) involve the FTC suing a company or individual. But this time, it's the other way around.

POM Wonderful, makers of pomegranate juice, is suing the FTC, alleging that the agency's new standard for evaluating deceptive advertising is trampling the company's free speech rights. The new standard requires advertisers to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before making health-related claims about food, beverages and dietary supplements, POM's lawyers said.

That, the suit argues, amounts to the FTC's encroaching on the FDA's turf.

Lawyers for POM say the FTC first revealed its new standard in July when Nestl S.A. agreed to drop allegedly deceptive advertising claims about the health benefits of its children's drink BOOST Kid Essentials.

The suit says the FTC requirement applies "regardless of whether or not the claims are true or supported by competent, reliable scientific evidence" and that the standard prevents POM from "truthfully advertising" the benefits of its products.

POM's lawyers say the new requirement violates the company's Fifth Amendment right to due process. They note that the FTC has never before required prior approval of advertisement statements.

Whatever eventually comes of the legal battles, many consumer advocates take a dim view of POM Wonderful and other makers of high-priced specialty drinks.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) noted a few years ago that some of POM's claims might be a little over the top. While the expensive drink, which goes for $4 or more per 16-ounce bottle, claims to help stave off prostate cancer in men and open up arteries in people with cardiovascular disease, CSPI said few of those claims had been adequately proven.

"Meanwhile, we do know for certain that pomegranate juice contains 160 calories per eight ounces, much more than orange juice or a soft drink," said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt, who authored the article. "Adding pomegranate juice to your diet could mean adding calories."



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Can Swimming Pools Cause Cancer?

Excessive chlorine in the water can damage DNA, researchers warn

Chlorine is added to swimming pools to kill bacteria, but Spanish researchers say the chemical in large quantities can cause DNA damage that could increase...


Chlorine is added to swimming pools to kill bacteria, but Spanish researchers say the chemical in large quantities can cause DNA damage that could increase the risk of cancer.

Their study is published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) journal, coordinated by researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and the Research Institute Hospital del Mar.

The evidence of DNA damage, known as genotoxic effects, was observed in 49 healthy adults after they spent 40 minutes in a chlorinated indoor pool. Specifically, researchers found increased levels of two biomarkers of genotoxicity in relation to the concentration of the most common types of DBPs in exhaled breath after swimming.

The observed biomarkers include micronuclei, a biomarker that indicates the type of DNA damage levels, a biomarker of cancer risk predictor in healthy subjects, and a biomarker of exposure to genotoxic agents.

Despite these results, the co-director of CREAL, Manolis Kogevinas, says swimming in chlorinated water is still safer than swimming in water without it. He says pools should just have less of it.

Just cut back on the chlorine

"The positive health impacts of swimming can be increased by reducing the levels of these chemicals," Kogevinas said. "In no case we want to stop swimming but to encourage the reduction of chemicals in swimming pools to ensure disinfection of the same."

In fact, he says reducing the levels of disinfection by-products (DBPs) can be achieved rigorously applying measures such as showering before swimming, bathing cap, avoid urinating in the pool and perform proper maintenance.

The DBPs formed in the pools are the result of the reactions appeared between the water disinfectants such as chlorine pools and organic matter, which occurs naturally or is introduced by swimmers through sweat, skin cells and urine.

Previous studies found an association between exposure to DBPs of drinking water and bladder cancer risk. Specifically, one such report, coordinated by the CREAL, concluded that this association was given by skin and inhalation exposure as occurs during showering, bathing or swimming.



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Fall Weather Is Prime Time for Household Mold

Mold can cause serious health problems if allowed to grow indoors

Mold is further evidence that not everything that's "natural" is good for us. In fact, common household molds can cause asthma, sneezing, runny nose, red e...


photo With autumn approaching, mold spores that have grown and prospered in the summer humidity are wafting along on the breeze, just waiting to be trapped inside your home as you close windows and vents in preparation for cooler weather.

We know to check the batteries in our smoke detectors, to change our air filters, to clean out our gutters and rake our leaves, but no one talks to homeowners about the dangers of household mold, says Jeff Dudan, CEO and founder of AdvantaClean, a mold remediation.

Mold is further evidence that not everything that's "natural" is good for us. In fact, common household molds can cause asthma, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes. Infants and the elderly are most the at risk, because they often have weaker immune systems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the air inside the average American home can be more than 100 times more polluted than the air outside. New homes usually have poorer air quality than older homes because theyre air-tight, so spores cant escape, providing a perfect breeding ground.

Mold requires moisture to grow, so reducing moisture in your home will reduce mold growth. Common moisture-reduction practices include:

• Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers regularly.
• Keep relative indoor humidity low, if possible below 60 percent. Humidity is measured most accurately with a moisture meter, a small $10 - $50 instrument found at most hardware stores.
• Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering and up to 10 minutes afterward.
• Use exhaust fans or open widows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or even washing dishes.
• When water leaks, act quickly. If you dry wet materials 2448 hours after a leak or spill, mold will not grow in most cases.
• Clean and repair roof gutters and leaky roofs regularly.
• Point sprinklers away from the home and siding.
• Make sure landscapes slope away from your homes foundation so water doesnt collect.

Where it grows

Not surprisingly, mold grows most readily in moist, dark places -- windowsills, closets, wall paper, flooring, in or around showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and even in the soil of potted plants.

Mold can be caused by slow dripping pipes, condensation, standing water on or under carpets and floor boards, leaky dryer vents, broken shingles and wet insulation.

Symptoms

People who are sensitive to mold may experience stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation. People allergic to mold may have difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor.

You can recognize mold both by sight and smell.

• By sight -- Are the walls and ceiling discolored, or do they show signs of mold growth or water damage?
• By smell -- Do you smell a bad odor, such as a musty, earthy smell or a foul stench?

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Coleman Company Recalls Water-Activated Spotlights

Coleman Company Recalls Water-Activated Spotlights...

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photo The Coleman Company is recalling about 50,000 WaterBeam 4D water-activated spotlights. The lens assembly can come apart from the main housing of the spotlight with force and pose a risk of impact injuries to consumers.

Coleman has received 33 reports of the lens assembly coming apart, 18 of which resulted in reports of impact injuries such as bruising, lacerations and minor burns.

The recalled spotlights are Coleman water-activated hand-held spotlights, model number 5338-782 (orange) UPC 76501 222733, model number 5338-792 (yellow) UPC 76501 222753 and model number 2000000153 (blue/white) UPC 76501 226683. A white label is affixed to the inside of the spotlight lens with the model number and production date information printed on the label.

The spotlights, made in China, were sold at various sporting good stores and retail outlets nationwide from January 2005 through June 2010 for between about $20 and $25.

Consumers should immediately remove the batteries and stop using the spotlights. Visit www.coleman.com for additional instructions on how to obtain a replacement light.

For additional information, contact Coleman at (800) 835-3278 between 7 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.coleman.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Horizon Hobby Recalls Spektrum Receivers Used with Model Airplane Gliders

Horizon Hobby Recalls Spektrum Receivers Used with Model Airplane Gliders...

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photo Horizon Hobby is recalling about 3,500 Spektrum receivers used with model airplane gliders. The receiver can lose contact with the model airplane glider's radio control while within normal radio range limits. If this happens, the glider can fall from the sky and hit consumers, posing a risk of injury.

This recall involves Spektrum AR6250 receivers designed for use with carbon fiber model gliders. Model number AR6250 can be found on the back of the packaging and on the front and back of the receiver. "Spektrum" is printed on the front of the receiver.

The devices were sold by Horizon Hobby direct sales representatives nationwide and Canada from March 2009 through May 2010 for about $105.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled receivers and contact Horizon Hobby for information on receiving a free replacement receiver.

For additional information, contact Horizon Hobby toll-free at (877) 504-0233 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Saturday, between 12 noon and 7 p.m. CT Sunday, or by mail at 4105 Fieldstone Road, Champaign, Ill. 61822. Consumers can also visit the firm's website at www.horizonhobby.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Fun Stuff Recalls Bracelets, Klick Balls, BoBo Balls

Fun Stuff Recalls Bracelets, Klick Balls, BoBo Balls...

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photo Fun Stuff Inc. is recalling about 36,000 children's toys, including Click Armband Bracelets, Klick Klick Balls and BoBo Balls.

The small balls on the end of the toy's arms can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. The toys were marketed for children age 3 and over. CPSC staff has designated these toys for children between the ages of 19 to 35 months.

There has been one report of a ball detaching in a 21-month old girl's mouth in Charlotte, N.C. No medical treatment was required.

The recalled bracelets and balls are made of stretchy, rubber material with hard plastic, colorful balls attached at the end of the toy's arms. The toys were sold with orange, green, pink, purple and blue colored balls. The BoBo balls have a flashing lighted ball encased in the stretchy material. The following item numbers are involved in this recall:

ToyItem Number
Click Armband BraceletFS1842
Klick Klick BallFS1734
BoBo BallFS1814

The item number is located on the product packaging.

The toys, made in China, were sold at beach resort stores nationwide from January 2009 through August 2010 for between $2 and $5.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from young children and return them to the place of purchase or contact Fun Stuff to receive a full refund.

For additional information, contact Fun Stuff toll-free at (888) 386-7833 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.funstuffinc.net

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Albee Baby Recalls Sorelle 'Prescott' Cribs

Albee Baby Recalls Sorelle 'Prescott' Cribs...

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Albee Baby is recalling Sorelle Brand "Prescott" cribs because they present entrapment, suffocation and fall hazards to babies.

These cribs are re-labeled fixed-sided Simplicity cribs that contain tubular metal mattress-support frames recalled in April 2010. The mattress support frames can bend or detach, causing part of the mattress to drop, creating a space into which an infant or toddler can roll and become wedged, entrapped or fall out of the crib.

In the April 2010 Simplicity recall, CPSC reported the death of a one-year-old child from Attleboro, Mass. who suffocated when he became entrapped between the crib mattress and the crib frame. In addition, CPSC has received reports of 29 incidents involving the Simplicity cribs where the cribs collapsed due to the metal mattress support frame detaching or bending.

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These include one child entrapment that did not result in injury and one child who suffered minor cuts when his head struck the broken mattress support bar. CPSC has received one report of a consumer who, in April of 2010, removed the Sorelle Prescott label from the crib and found a Simplicity crib label underneath. (The consumer purchased the crib in July of 2009, prior to the Simplicity mattress support recall.)

These are full-sized fixed-sided cribs sold in an oak finish, as 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 convertible cribs. "Sorelle Furniture" along with the company's address, the crib's model number and a manufacturer's code are printed on a label attached to the headboard or footboard.

This recall is limited to Sorelle "Prescott" cribs sold online by AlbeeBaby.com between July 2009 and October 2009 for between $180 and $210. The dribs were made in China.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and contact Albee Baby for a replacement crib, store credit or refund. C&T; International/Albee Baby is attempting to directly contact known consumers who purchased the recalled crib online from July 2009 through October 2009. In the meantime, find an alternate, age appropriate, safe sleeping environment for the child, such as a bassinet, play yard or toddler bed.

For additional information, contact Albee Baby toll-free at (877) 692-5233 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.albeebaby.com.

Important Message from CPSC:

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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New Devices Claim to Freeze and Zap Fat Away

R2D2 look-alikes wage holy war on bulges, flab and fat

Not too long, those who were a little too tubby subjected themselves to steam baths and "exercise" machines that basically jiggled their fat around....

Not too long, those who were a little too tubby subjected themselves to steam baths and "exercise" machines that basically jiggled their fat around. As technology advanced, the weight-averse turned to a mystifying array of exercises, drugs, potions, liposuction and even surgery.

But the War Against Fat is entering a new phase with the introduction of two new high-tech techniques. One of them freezes fat cells, causing them to shrivel up and die, we're told, while the other basically blasts away fat with laser beams, radio waves and ultrasound.

Sounds like a late-night infomercial? Perhaps, but no less a skeptic than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved devices using these techniques for "body contouring" purposes in doctors' offices. That doesn't mean they'll be coming to the neighborhood tanning salon next week, but no one's taking any bets.

Zeltiq

photo Perhaps the device that's farthest along is manufactured by Zeltiq. It calls its technique "Cryolipolysis" and, yes, that's "cryo" as in freezing. To put it bluntly, Zeltiq claims to freeze out your fat cells over a period of a few months.

Currently FDA-approved only for skin cooling and anesthetic uses in the U.S., Zeltiq is already being used in Europe and Canada for fat reduction.

As Zeltiq explains its "coolsculpting" procedure, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon uses vacuum pressure to draw the offending tissue into a cup, where it is cooled down for ten minutes or so. A few days later, the cooled fat cells begin a process called "apoptosis" and begin to shrink, Zeltiq's adherents claim.

Although oversimplifying slightly, the procedure is said to be somewhat similar to the freezing nitrogen the dermatologist sprays on your face to remove sun-damaged tissues before they turn cancerous.

"The best candidate for Zeltiq is someone who is in relatively good shape, but has modest areas of fat bulges that theyd like removed. Its not an alternative to healthy diet or lifestyle," cautions Dr. Lori A. Brightman, a New York plastic surgeon writing on www.body-contouring.com.

"Coolsculpting is highly effective and is producing consistent results for local areas of fat like the love-handles or man-boobs, though larger areas of fat may require more invasive treatments," Brightman notes.

Zerona

photoAnd then there's the Zerona, which blasts fat away instead of freezing it, using what's called "low-level laser technology" to emulsify fat tissue, in effect making it smaller.

Manufactured by Erchonia Corp., the Zerona is said to be "the first non-invasive aesthetic device to receive FDA market clearance in the U.S. for circumferential reduction of the waist, hips, and thighs."

The problem with fat cells, simply put, is that they tend to grow. They're capable of expanding to at least 64 times their originial size. That was good when we lived as nomads and couldn't count on getting three meals a day. But in a population that's basically overfed and underworked, it can cause problems, big problems.

The Zerona comes to the rescue by targeting fat cells and forcing them to collapse.

"Zerona is scientifically-proven to be both safe and effective, and this most recent FDA clearance simply validates the research supporting this application, says Charlie Shanks, vice president of Erchonia. Zeronas FDA clearance makes it even more unique in the marketplace and we are excited to continue the momentum with a new, integrated marketing campaign.

So are either of these rather intimidating-sounding procedures right for you? The only way to find out is to have a talk with your doctor who, if he or she approves, will help you find a specialist who'll freeze or blast your fat for you.

But before you do that, you might also want to find a Registered Dietitian (R.D.), preferably one with a Ph.D. Dietitians are that rarity -- someone who actually knows a lot about how the body processes food and who can work with you to tailor an individual dietary plan that might actually accomplish something. You can find an online directory of dietitians at eatright.org.

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Appeals Court Throws Out Zyprexa Class Action

Suit concerned schizophrenia drug's side effects

Appeals Court Throws Out Zyprexa Class Action...


Drug giant Eli Lilly won a big victory on Friday, as a federal appellate court reversed class certification of a lawsuit concerning the company's schizophrenia drug Zyprexa.

The now-defunct class consisted of third-party payors -- including insurance companies, pension funds, and labor unions -- who paid costs for their members. The suit alleges that Lilly overstated the drug's effectiveness while downplaying its potential side effects, including weight gain, diabetes, and hyperglycemia.

Zyprexa, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, has been used by around 20 million people worldwide since its 1996 introduction.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein certified the class in September 2008, writing in a nearly 300 page opinion that the suit involves issues of great public interest, the health of hundreds of thousands of people, fundamental questions about our system of approval and monitoring of pharmaceutical products, and the funding for many health and insurance benefit plans. The class covered all payments made between June 20, 2001 and June 20, 2005.

No causation shown

Judge Gerald Lynch, who wrote the opinion of the three-judge panel, said that the plaintiffs failed to allege that they relied on Lilly's misrepresentations -- the misrepresentations at issue were directed through mailings and otherwise at doctors. Those alleged misrepresentations prove little, the court continued, since the third-party payors -- not doctors -- were the only ones in a position to negotiate the price paid for Zyprexa.

Lilly was, predictably, happy with the result, with its general counsel Robert Armitage saying in a statement that the company had always been confident that the suit filed by third-party payors was without merit and believed that the earlier decision would be overturned. Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they were reviewing their options.

Friday's ruling was especially significant given the potential stakes of the case. Several of the plaintiffs' expert witnesses testified that Lilly's liability could reach into the billions.

Good news for Lilly

And at this point Lilly must regard good news about Zyprexa litigation as long overdue. The company has already shelled out over $1 billion to settle the claims of over 28,000 consumers who say they suffered negative effects from taking the drug.

In January 2007 -- the date of Lilly's last big settlement -- The New York Times reported that internal documents obtained from a plaintiff's attorney showed that the company played down the risks of Zyprexa to doctors as the drugs sales soared after its introduction in 1996.

According to those documents, the paper reported, 16 percent of people taking Zyprexa gained more than 66 pounds after a year on the drug, a far higher figure than the company disclosed to doctors.

Lilly also paid $1.4 billion in January 2009 after admitting that it advertised Zyprexa for unapproved use. The company touted the drug as effective for dementia, a claim lacking support from the Food & Drug Administration.

Zyprexa, Lilly's best-selling drug, generated nearly $5 billion in sales -- 23 percent of the company's total -- just last year.

Zyprexa has produced a number of complaints to Consumeraffairs.com, but mostly about side effects.

"I ... took Zyprexa and it was a nightmare; gained a lot of weight; sleepless nights among other side effects," Denise, of Fresno, Calif., said.

Linda, of Vallejo, Calif., said she took Zyprexa for depression, but the side effects were worse.

"Caused severe weight gain, serious insomnia that could not be helped with medication. A kind of 'zombie' feeling during the day," she said. "It caused my children and friends to question my ability to think for myself. It made the depression worse."



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FDA Acts Against 5 Electronic Cigarette Distributors

Agency cites unsubstantiated claims, poor manufacturing practices

FDA Acts Against 5 Electronic Cigarette Distributors...


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to five electronic cigarette distributors for various violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) including unsubstantiated claims and poor manufacturing practices.

Also, in a letter to the Electronic Cigarette Association, FDA said the agency intends to regulate electronic cigarette and related products in a manner consistent with its mission of protecting the public health. The letter outlines the regulatory pathway for marketing drug products in compliance with the FDCA.

For a drug product to gain FDA approval, a company must demonstrate to the agency that the product is safe and effective for its intended use. The company must also demonstrate that manufacturing methods are adequate to preserve the strength, quality and purity of the product.

"FDA invites electronic cigarette firms to work in cooperation with the agency toward the goal of assuring that electronic cigarettes sold in the United States are lawfully marketed," the letter to the association read.

FDA has determined that the electronic cigarette products addressed in the warning letters to the distributors, and similar products, are subject to FDA regulation as drugs.

Under the FDCA, a company cannot claim that its drug can treat or mitigate a disease, such as nicotine addiction, unless the drug's safety and effectiveness have been proven. Yet all five companies claim without FDA review of relevant evidence that the products help users quit smoking cigarettes.

The companies receiving warning letters today are: E-CigaretteDirect LLC, Ruyan America Inc., Gamucci America (Smokey Bayou Inc.), E-Cig Technology Inc. and Johnson Creek Enterprises LLC.

Variety of letters

Certain companies received warning letters for additional reasons. For example, E-Cig Technology markets drugs in unapproved liquid forms, such as tadalafil, an erectile dysfunction drug, and rimonabant, a weight loss drug that has not been approved for use in the United States. These liquid pharmaceuticals are designed to refill cartridges used in e-cigarettes so that the drugs can be vaporized and inhaled.

The FDA cited Johnson Creek Enterprises, which markets Smoke Juice, a liquid solution used to refill depleted cartridges in e-cigarettes, for several significant deficiencies in its manufacturing processes, including failure to establish quality control and testing procedures required under the FDCA.



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Milk Recalled For Improper Pasteurization

Product was distributed in five states

Midland Farms, has recalled certain milk products due to the potential of improper pasteurization. The company did not disclose how much milk is included i...


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Midland Farms, based in Menands, New York, has recalled certain milk products due to the potential of improper pasteurization. The company did not disclose how much milk is included in the recall.

The pasteurization process is designed to heat milk in order to effectively eliminate all pathogenic bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella. Recalled products were sold in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The company said the recalled milk products are all sold in plastic containers and are marketed under the brand names Midland Farms, Corrado's Market, Jersey Dairy Farms and Trade Fair Premium. They all possess the plant code 36-1661.

The products also possess a black ink date code near the top of the container. The products involved in this recall include:

Recalled Gallons:

• "Midland Farms Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Reduced Fat, 2% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Low Fat, 1% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Fat Free Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Corrado's Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Corrado's Market Reduced Fat, 2% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Corrado's Market Low Fat 1% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Corrado's Market Fat Free Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Jersey Dairy Farms Vitamin D Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Trade Fair Premium Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Trade Fair Premium Reduced Fat, 2% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Trade Fair Premium Low Fat, 1% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Trade Fair Premium Fat Free Milk" with the date code SEP24

Recalled Half-Gallons:

• "Midland Farms Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Reduced Fat, 2% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Low Fat, 1% Milk Fat Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Midland Farms Fat Free Milk" with the date code SEP24

• "Jersey Dairy Farms Vitamin D Milk" with the date code SEP24

Recalled Quarts:

• "Midland Farms Fresh Whole Milk" with SELLBY 9/24/10

• "Midland Farms Reduced Fat Milk" with SELLBY 9/24/10

• "Midland Farms Fresh Low Fat Milk" with SELLBY 9/24/10

• "Midland Farms Fresh Fat Free Milk" with SELLBY 9/24/10

Recalled Pints:

• "Midland Farms Whole Milk" with SELLBY 9/24/10

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said it has learned that the problem was detected by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' milk inspectors during an inspection on September 7, 2010 when they found a failure of pasteurization equipment at the Menands milk plant. While the recalled products have not been found to be contaminated with any harmful pathogens, the company has determined to voluntarily recall all production as a precautionary measure.



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FIXIT Rechargeable Spotlights Recalled

FIXIT Rechargeable Spotlights Recalled...

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photo Innovage LLC is recalling about 1.4 million FIXIT rechargeable spotlights. The spotlights charging adapter can overcharge the battery, forcing it to rupture and leak battery acid. This poses a chemical burn hazard to consumers.

The firm has received 13 reports of incidents involving minor skin chemical burns and battery acid burn holes in upholstery, clothing and carpeting.

This recall involves the One Million Candlepower Spotlight, a rechargeable halogen light. The handheld spotlight is made of yellow plastic and has a black label that reads, FIXIT Tools UP TO 1,000,000 CANDLE POWER or FIXIT Rechargeable Spotlight. The spotlight is sold with an AC power charger and a 12 volt car utility adapter.

The spotlights, made in China, were sold at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Bealls, Tuesday Morning, Ace Hardware, Boscovs and Winn-Dixie stores nationwide from October 2003 through October 2009 for about $10.

Consumers should immediately stop using the spotlights and contact Innovage for a full refund of the regular retail price. For purchases made above the regular retail price, additional refunds will be offered with valid receipts. Consumers are asked to return the product, via a self-addressed stamped envelope or box that will be provided. Instructions for returning the product are posted at www.spotlightrecall.org and are also available from the Innovage call center.

For additional information, contact Innovage toll-free at (888) 408-1140 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firms website at www.spotlightrecall.org.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Kids Win the Junk-Food Tug of War

Parents often settle for less nutritious foods when buying for their kids

While parents may prefer nutritious foods for the entire family, their preference for healthy foods is about 50 percent weaker when they're selecting produ...


While parents may prefer nutritious foods for the entire family, their preference for healthy foods is about 50 percent weaker when they're selecting products for the kids, rather than for themselves.

Why does this happen? Parents give in at the grocery store -- or before they even get there, in the case of this study -- compromising their preferences based on what they believe their children will accept, says study author Irwin Levin, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Iowa.

"Perhaps they think the child won't eat the healthy option, or they suspect that the child will beg for the unhealthy foods," he says. "But, when you look at this particular finding in the context of rising childhood obesity, the question for parents to consider is this: You try to eat healthy. Do you want less for your child?"

Levin published the study in the September issue of the Journal of Consumer Behaviour with his son, Aron Levin, an associate professor of marketing at Northern Kentucky University.

The study involved more than three dozen seven-year-old children and a parent of each child (usually the mother), who rated eight combinations of cards displaying food products.

How they fared

They rated each item on a five-point scale indicating how good or bad they thought it was. Kids indicated how they'd feel if their parents bought the product, and parents indicated the likelihood of purchasing the product for themselves and for their children.

Results showed that boys were 20 percent more likely to rate unhealthy products higher, while girls were 20 percent more likely to rate healthy foods higher.

"Other studies have found evidence of this as well," Irwin Levin says. "There are indications of basic physiological differences -- that is, boys require more sweetness to like a food than girls do. It's possible there is also a cultural effect in play, with the young girls already developing concerns about thinness."

Brand name proved to be the most important factor for both kids and adults. Familiar brand names were Lay's, Kellogg's, Cheerios, and Yoplait, while fictitious names were provided for the other products.

Whether the food was healthy was the second-most influential factor in terms of ratings. Healthy products were low-fat yogurt and plain toasted oat cereal; unhealthy products were potato chips and breakfast tarts.

Celebrity endorsements

And, despite the big bucks shelled out for endorsements and licensed cartoon characters, they proved to be the least significant factor. Adults rated products with fictitious endorsements by Tiger Woods (before his personal problems became public), Jay Leno, Adam Sandler, and Katherine Heigl, while children rated products picturing Shrek, Scooby Doo, The Incredibles, or SpongeBob on the package.

"Using popular cartoon characters on the packaging can have some limited effect on children, but promoting healthy eating can be best accomplished when the product is provided by a familiar brand name," Irwin Levin says. "While SpongeBob can be used to promote healthy eating habits in our children, trusted brands like Kellogg's and conscientious parents can do even more."

The research was funded by a National Science Foundation grant to study the development of decision-making competence in children.



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Simms Fishing Products Recalls Wading Staffs

Simms Fishing Products Recalls Wading Staffs...

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Simms Fishing Products is recalling about 3,000 wading staff because they can collapse.

The recalled product is a wading staff used to assist in wading rivers and streams. These staffs, offered in two sizes (52" & 56"), are sterling silver in color and are identified by Simms item numbers AWS101152 or AWS101156 (UPC numbers 94264-10102 or 94264-10103). The item number and UPC numbers can be found on the product hang tag attached to the staff at time of purchase. Affected wading staffs are visibly identifiable by a silver cable connector.

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The staffs, made in the U.S., were sold by authorized dealers nationwide from March 2010 through June 2010 for about $120.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact Simms Fishing Products or an authorized dealer to receive a free replacement staff or a full refund.

For additional information, contact Simms Fishing Products toll-free at (877) 789-6555 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, visit the firm's website at www.simmsfishing.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Black & Decker Recalls Random Orbit Sanders

Black & Decker Recalls Random Orbit Sanders...

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Black & Decker is recalling about 192,000 random orbit sanders. The black plastic disc (called the platen) that holds the sandpaper can fly off or break apart during use and the disc, or pieces of the disc, can hit the user or those nearby, posing a laceration hazard.

Black & Decker has received 73 reports of incidents involving the sanders black plastic disc (platen) breaking or falling apart, including 15 reports of injuries from flying pieces, one of which involved a serious facial laceration.

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This recall involves Black & Decker random orbit sanders with model numbers RO400, RO400G, RO410, RO410K, RO410LW and FS3000ROS and date codes between 200701 and 200929. The sanders are orange and black. Black & Decker is printed on the sanders. The model number is printed on a label on the sander. The date code is stamped on the underside of the sander where the dust bag is inserted.

The sanders, made in China, were sold at home center, hardware and discount stores and by authorized Black & Decker dealers nationwide from January 2007 through July 2009 for about $40.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sanders and contact Black & Decker for a free replacement platen to hold the sandpaper.

For additional information, contact Black & Decker toll-free at (866) 220-1767 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firms website at www.blackanddecker.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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New Rules Make It Easier To Appeal Health Claim Denials

But rules only apply to new plans

New Rules Make It Easier To AppealHealth Claim Denials...



One of the provisions of the health care reform law will make it easier for consumers to appeal denial of health insurance claims at least, it'll be easier for some consumers.

In July the Obama Administration issued the new rules guaranteeing consumers the right to appeal claims denials -- directly to their insurers and then, if necessary, to external review boards. But the rules apply only on new policies, for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

The rules for both internal and external reviews do not apply to "grandfathered" plans -- those that existed on March 23, 2010, when the health law was enacted. But plans can lose their "grandfathered" status if they make significant changes to their plans regarding costs or benefits. The new rules do not supersede any state requirements that are stricter than those in the new federal law.

Internal appeals process

The new rules require health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to implement an effective internal claims and appeals process.

For group health plans, this includes:

• compliance with all the Department of Labor claims procedure regulations;
• notification, in most cases, to a claimant of a benefit determination involving urgent care within 24 hours;
• providing the claimant with any new or additional evidence considered;
• assurance that claims and appeals are adjudicated in a manner to avoid any conflict of interest;
• providing information to enrollees in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner;
• and the deeming of the internal claims process as exhausted if the plan fails to strictly adhere to all the above requirements.

Plans are required to continue coverage pending the outcome of an internal appeal.

Individual health plans must generally comply with all the requirements for the internal claims and appeals process for group health plans. In addition, they must include in the claims and appeals process initial eligibility determinations, including pre-existing conditions; they must limit the internal appeals process to one appeal, allowing the claimant to go immediately to external or judicial review; and they must maintain for six years all records in connection with their claims and appeals process.

External review process

The new rules also mandate an external review process. The external-review requirement will apply, for the first time, to companies that are self-insured -- ones that pay their employees' claims directly rather than buying insurance to cover their workers.

Most states already guarantee consumers the right to external appeals, though their rules vary widely. Only Alabama, Mississippi, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota do not have external review laws.

The new rules will largely end the patchwork of protections that apply to only some plans in some states, and simplify the system for consumers, according to the non-profit Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), which analyzed the new regulatrions. If a state external review process applies to and is binding on insurance plans and includes, at a minimum, the consumer protections in the Uniform Model Act of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), then the issuer complies with the State process and not the federal external review process.

Under the regulations, states are "encouraged" to adopt the new external review standards by July 2011. The new regulations take effect for plan years starting Sept. 23, 2010, but they will not automatically apply to residents in states that have existing external review laws until next July, so that states have time to adjust to the new standards.

If states fail to change their rules by next July, their residents will then be able to rely on the federal standards. But the PAF says federal officials are still working out the details of how that will be done. For plans in states without an existing State external review process, including self-insured plans, the federal process will apply to plan years (in the individual market, policy years) beginning on or after September 23, 2010.



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The Land of Nod Recalls Toy Vegetables

The Land of Nod Recalls Toy Vegetables...

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photo The Land of Nod is recalling about 2,100 Play With Your Veggies toys. The metal wire in the toy asparagus can become exposed, posing a laceration hazard to children.

This recall involves The Land of Nod toy vegetables sets made of felt wool. The toy set has six vegetables: radish, onion, asparagus, tomato, lettuce and carrot. The asparagus is the only toy vegetable involved in this recall.

The toys, made in Nepal, were sold at The Land of Nod stores in Illinois and Washington, the Land of Nod catalog and www.landofnod.com from October 2007 through February 2010 for about $25.

Consumers should immediately take the toy asparagus from children and return the product to the company for a free replacement asparagus.

For additional information, contact The Land of Nod at (800) 933-9904 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, visit the firms website at www.landofnod.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Many ER Visits Could Be Treated Elsewhere, Study Finds

Retail clinics and urgent care centers could shift the load from hospitals

Many ER Visits Could Be Treated Elsewhere, Study Finds...


Each day people seek treatment for a variety of minor injuries and ailments. But where they go for that treatment could make a big difference in how much money they -- and their insurances companies -- ultimately spend.

Those whose first instinct is to head to the nearest hospital should consider this: about 17 percent of all visits to hospital emergency departments across the United States could be treated at retail medical clinics or urgent care centers, potentially saving $4.4 billion annually in health care costs, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Researchers, writing in the September edition of the journal Health Affairs, reported that emergency rooms treat minor infections, strains, fractures and lacerations, ailments that could be treated at less cost outside of a hospital.

"Patient traffic to hospital emergency departments has been growing, but a significant proportion of patients could be safely treated in these alternative settings," said Robin Weinick, the study's lead author and a senior social scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Diverting these patients to alternatives such as retail clinics and urgent care centers could shorten their waiting times and save money."

Avoiding the wait

Why do consumers head first for the ER? Because in many cases, they face long waits for appointments with their physician and limited after-hours options. Other studies have found the cost of treating of nonemergency conditions in the emergency department is significantly higher than in other settings, which can increase patients' out-of-pocket costs and add avoidable spending to the nation's health care bill.

Alternative care settings for non-emergency care such as retail medical clinics and urgent care centers have increased over the past decade. Retail clinics, located in pharmacies or grocery stores, are typically staffed by nurse practitioners and a treat a limited range of health conditions such as sore throats or urinary tract infections.

Urgent care centers are freestanding physician-staffed facilities that offer extended hours, onsite x-rays and laboratory testing, and which can treat a broader range of conditions, including minor fractures and serious cuts.

Both retail clinics and urgent care centers are open in the evenings and on weekends and allow for drop-in appointments. Prior work has shown they are substantially cheaper than an emergency department.

RAND researchers analyzed information about people who visited retail medical clinics and urgent care centers and compared it with profiles of patients who visited hospital emergency departments during 2006. They examined issues such as the severity of injuries and illnesses seen in emergency departments, as well as the volume and mix of cases seen when alternative care settings are open.

Many ER visits can be avoided

Based upon the comparisons, researchers estimated that 13.7 percent of all emergency department visits reviewed could have been treated in a retail medical clinic, although that proportion decreases to about 8 percent when the analysis is restricted to visits that occur when retail clinics typically are open.

An additional 13.4 percent of all hospital emergency department visits could be treated at an urgent care center, although that proportion decreases to about nine percent when cases are restricted to those seen when the centers typically are open.

Overall, although the researchers estimated that 27.1 percent of all hospital emergency department visits could be managed at a retail clinic or urgent care center, only 16.8 percent could be managed during the hours the emergency department alternatives typically are open.

"We've known for a long time that many people go the emergency department with problems that could be addressed elsewhere, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify how many of those visits could be addressed at these alternative locations," said study co-author Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, a researcher at RAND and an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

While the study provides important evidence about the number of cases that could be managed outside emergency departments, it did not evaluate whether retail clinics and urgent care centers currently have the capacity to handle substantially higher numbers of patients. Researchers note that there is only limited evidence about whether patients can safely decide when it is appropriate to use one of the lower-cost emergency treatment options.

There is some evidence that emergency departments, retail clinics and urgent care centers provide care that is similar in quality, but more research is needed before large numbers of patients can be encouraged to seek care in alternative settings, according to the researchers.



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Pontiac Recalls 2005-2008 Vibes

Pontiac Recalls 2005-2008 Vibes...


Pontiac is recalling about 16,000 vehicles from the 2005-2008 model years because of a possible problem with the engine control module.

GM said that on models with the 1ZZ-FE (LV6) engine, solder points on the circuit board could crack, possibly causing harsh shifting, stalling and other problems.

Dealers will inspect the engine control module and replace it if necessry. Owners may contact GM at 1-800-620-7668 about recall number 10282.

Consumers may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153) or at www.safercar.gov.

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Paradigm Recalls Cinema 70 CT Subwoofers

Paradigm Recalls Cinema 70 CT Subwoofers...

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photo Paradigm Electronics is recalling about 2,200 Cinema 70 CT subwoofers. The subwoofer can overheat when the speaker system is played at high outputs for an extended period of time, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

The firm has received one report of a subwoofer overheating causing minor property damage to the carpet beneath the speaker. No injuries have been reported.

This recall involves subwoofer speakers sold as part of the Paradigm Cinema 70 CT 120 volt and Paradigm Cinema 70 CT 230 volt system. The speakers have a black finish and serial numbers beginning with 111028 and higher. The serial number is located on the amp panel on the back of the subwoofer. The speaker system includes two front speakers, two rear speakers, a center channel and subwoofer. Subwoofers with an amperage rating of 1.25A L 250 volt are not included in this recall. The amperage rating is located on the back panel of the subwoofer.

The speakers, made in China, were sold at small specialty stores and independent audio products dealers nationwide and online at Amazon.com from July 2009 through August 2010 for about $700.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled speakers and contact Paradigm for a repair kit. The kit contains a replacement fuse and detailed instructions on how to remove the fuse and install a new one. Consumers will also receive a revised fuse rating label to be applied directly over the original label.

For additional information, contact Paradigm toll-free at (877) 419-1994 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.paradigm.com.

For additional information, contact Step2 at (800) 347-8372 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.step2.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Step2 Recalls Children's Transportation Station Toys Due to Choking Hazard

Step2 Recalls Children's Transportation Station Toys Due to Choking Hazard...

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The Step2 Company is recalling about 64,000 Sand & Water Transportation Station because the light blue plastic wheels on the train cars can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

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The transportation station is a standalone play station for children ages 2 and up. The toy station consists of: a round blue plastic table, including train tracks, train cars in blue, red and yellow, toy sailboats and a hand rake/shovel. A red Step2 logo decal is on the side of the table. Train cars with grey wheels are not included in this recall.

The toys, made in the U.S., were sold at Target and other major retailers, specialty stores and by online retailers from December 2008 through June 2010 for between $49 and $59.

Consumers should immediately take the train cars away from children and contact Step2 for free replacement cars.

For additional information, contact Step2 at (800) 347-8372 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.step2.com.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Suzuki Recalls Models Equipped with Garmin Nuvi Navigation Systems

Suzuki Recalls Models Equipped with Garmin Nuvi Navigation Systems...


Suzuki is recalling certain vehicles equipped with a Garmin Nuvi navigation system because the batteries in the Garmin unit can overheat.

The affected vehicles and model years are:

SUZUKI / EQUATOR 2009-2010
SUZUKI / GRAND VITARA 2010
SUZUKI / SX4 2008-2010

Suzuki will notify owners and a technician will replace the battery and insert a spacer on top of the battery free of charge.

Owners may contact Garmin at 1-866-957-1981 or Suzuki at 1-887-697-8985.

Consumers may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153) or at www.safercar.gov.

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Kia Recalls 2011 Sorento, 2010 Soul to Fix Wiring Problem

Kia Recalls 2011 Sorento, 2010 Soul to Fix Wiring Problem...


Hyundai-Kia is recalling about 35,000 Sorentos from the 2011 model year and Souls from the 2010 model year. Wiring in the Soul's "advanced lighting speakers" and the Sorento's interior accent illumination system may have been improperly soldered.

The problem could cause an electrical short, which could start a fire.

Dealers will replace the wiring harness free of charge.

Owners may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542 about recall campaign number SC083.

Consumers may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153) or at www.safercar.gov.

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Toshiba Recalls T Series Notebook Computers

Toshiba Recalls T Series Notebook Computers...


Toshiba is recalling about 41,000 Satellite T135, Satellite T135D and Satellite ProT130 notebook computers. The computers can overheat at the notebook's plug-in to the AC adapter, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

Toshiba has received 129 reports of the notebook computers overheating and deforming the plastic casing area around the AC adapter plug, including two reports of minor burn injuries that did not require medical attention and two reports of minor property damage.

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This recall involves certain Toshiba Satellite T135, Satellite T135D and Satellite Pro T130 notebook computer models. "Toshiba" is printed on the top of the computer. The model name and number are printed on a label on the bottom.

The computers, made in China, were sold at electronics stores and other retailers nationwide and online, including at Toshibadirect.com and other websites, from August 2009 through August 2010 for between $600 and $800.

Consumers should immediately download the latest version of Toshiba's BIOS computer program to their notebook computer at http://laptops.toshiba.com/about/consumer-notices. This new computer program will detect whether the notebook computer is overheating, and if so, disable the notebook computer's external power and display a message directing the consumer to contact Toshiba for a free repair. Consumers who do not have Internet access should contact Toshiba to arrange for installation of the updated BIOS.

For additional information, contact Toshiba at (800) 457-7777 anytime or visit the firm's website at http://laptops.toshiba.com/about/consumer-notices.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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Kompan Recalls Swing Sets

Kompan Recalls Swing Sets...

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Kompan, Inc. of Tacoma, Wash., is recalling about 700 swing sets. The joint connection between the horizontal top beam and the vertical end bracket and support post system can crack and break, posing a fall and impact hazard to users.

Kompan received 19 reports from BigToys of swings that have had the end brackets replaced due to both actual or potential for cracking or breakage at the joint of the top beam and the support posts. The firm has received three reports of minor injuries to users, however the firm has been unable to verify the cause or nature of these injuries.

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The recalled swing sets include the To Fro models listed below with any numbers in the series of model number codes listed. For example, for the first entry, S1-8, all single bay, 8 foot swings beginning with the model number S1-8 would be included in the recall. Kompan has not manufactured the swing since December 31, 2003 and has not sold it since December 31, 2008.

Swing DescriptionModel Number
Single bay, 8 foot swingS1-8X-XX
Single bay, 10 foot swingS1-10X-XX
2 bay, 8 foot swingS2-8X-XX
2 bay, 10 foot swingS2-10X-XX
3 bay, 8 foot swingS3-8X-XX
3 bay, 10 foot swingS3-10X-XX
4 bay, 8 foot swingS4-8X-XX
4 bay, 10 foot swingS4-10X-XX
5 bay, 8 foot swingS5-8X-XX
5 bay, 10 foot swingS5-10X-XX

The swings, made in the U.S., were sold by Kompan, Inc. from January 1998 to December 31, 2008 for about $700-$3250. The units were sold to customers through third-party sales representatives throughout the United States.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled swing sets and remove the chains connecting the seats to the top beam. A retrofit kit will be provided to all affected customers with installation instructions. Kompan is contacting swing owners directly by telephone and mail to advise them to stop using the swing, remove the chains connecting the seats to the top beam and advising customers that retrofit kits will be delivered with installation instructions. Kompan will follow up by telephone and email after the retrofits are delivered to confirm installation by customers.

For additional information, please contact Kompan representative Joedi Rice at (800) 624-4869 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, visit the firms website at www.kompan.com, or e-mail the firm at joeric@kompan.com

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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