Archives for February, 2008

“Shame on Elaine Chao”

That’s the headline from an editorial in today’s Savannah Morning News, laying responsibility for the broken workplace safety regulatory system on the Secretary of Labor’s desk.  The words of editorial page editor, Tom Barton, sound like those I’ve heard before when a workplace disaster strikes a town.  Journalists, community leaders, and family member victims are…

Friday Blog Roundup

There’s been a lot of blogging about vaccines lately: Mark Meier at Science Progress explains how a cocaine-addiction vaccine was developed, and what questions and hurdles it still faces. Jacob Goldstein at WSJ’s Health Blog explains what this year’s mismatched flu vaccine means for next year’s production (also see Effect Measure on this year’s flu…

The Supreme Court and the FDA

In an 8-1 decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, the Supreme Court has ruled that medical-device manufacturers whose products secured pre-market FDA approval are immune from liability for personal injuries. So, if you’re injured by a medical device (like a drug-coated stent or prosthetic hip) that’s received this approval, you won’t be able to sue the…

Quotes of the Day

There are a number of memorable quotes in the Center for Study of Responsive Law’s newly released report “Undermining Safety: A Report on Coal Mine Safety.”   In one section, report author Christopher W. Shaw discusses the mining industry’s lobbying for “targeted inspections” (a la the OSHA model) instead of the current requirement for mandatory quarterly inspections.  The AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer Richard…

What to Do About Dangerous Consumer Products

As the recent problems with tainted food, drugs, toys, and other consumer products have made clear, our regulatory system has a lot of holes in it. Part of the problem is the current reluctance of agency appointees to do anything that might burden the industries in question, but that’s not the whole story. It’s also…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In the Washington Post, Petula Dvorak describes the jobs of social workers in the nation’s capital: As guardians watching over thousands of the city’s imperiled children each year, social workers confront armed drug dealers, push past stoned parents, shrug off cockroaches, sit on urine-soaked couches and hug kids covered in scabies. … Often, the most…

Small Victory for OHS Whistleblower

OSHA’s Regional Office in New York announced the successful resolution of a retaliation case filed by a worker who was discharged by his employer after he expressed concerns about entering a workspace which had just been “bombed” with an insecticide.  The case began more than two years ago at a residential housing complex in Flushing, NY, called…

The Wrong Approach to Meat

If you haven’t heard yet, USDA has ordered the largest meat recall in U.S. history – 143 million pounds of beef from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company. USDA officials believe that the meat distributed by the company poses little or no hazard to consumers, which is fortunate, because much of it has been eaten already.…

Four Deaths and FDA’s Chinese Plant Mixup

Baxter International announced recently that it has temporarily halted production of heparin, a generic anti-clotting drug, because of four fatalities and hundreds of bad reactions potentially tied to the drug. Baxter and the FDA say they don’t know the exact cause of the bad reactions, but attention has focused on the active ingredient supplied by…

Earlier Explosion at Imperial Sugar Refinery

Kudos! to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) for providing an update on their investigation of the devastating explosion at the Imperial Sugar/Dixie Crystals refinery near Port Wentworth, Georgia.  As I’ve noted in previous posts, because the CSB makes it part of their business to provide regular update for the public—even if they don’t have much at all to report—their…