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Articles Posted in Defective Products

baby_food_contaminiation_AdobeStock_84134860-300x214Parents take the responsibility for protecting their children seriously in everything they do from baby-proofing their homes to carefully choosing age-appropriate clothes and toys. But what about when it comes to food? Most parents today rely, at least in part, on prepackaged baby foods and may be surprised to learn that, in addition to pureed carrots, peas, applesauce and the like, some baby foods on the market today also contain toxic elements like arsenic and lead.

A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee report recently revealed the existence of surprisingly high levels of heavy metals like arsenic and lead in some baby foods made and sold by various baby food manufacturers. This report prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a statement announcing its plans to limit the levels of heavy metals contained in baby foods and reminding baby food companies of their responsibility to consider the health dangers these elements pose. Some people are asking if the FDA’s actions are enough. Read “FDA Pledges to Take Action on Heavy Metals in Baby Food” to learn more.

hand_sanitizer_AdobeStock_327266102-300x169Frequent and thorough handwashing is one of the activities said to be an important step in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. And when you don’t have access to soap and water, using a hand sanitizer is the next best thing — or is it?

While hand sanitizers may help stop the spread of germs, it has been reported that certain hand sanitizers contain potentially life-threatening chemicals which can be harmful when ingested or absorbed through the skin. Initially, consumers were warned to avoid hand sanitizers containing methanol. More recently, that list was expanded to also include those that contained 1-propanol.

For more details on what to look for – or avoid – when shopping for your hand sanitizers, read “FDA warns about new hand sanitizer ingredient, expands list of dangerous products to 149.”

infant-sleeper-recall-400-06394336d-300x214A recall of inclined infant sleepers earlier this year illustrates the need for parents to not only heed the recall warnings themselves, but also to make sure their children’s caretakers are doing likewise.

In early April, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall affecting some 5 million Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers and another approximately 700,000 similar inclined sleepers from Kids II after the products had been linked to more than 50 infant deaths. Yet, despite the recall, some daycare centers were found to still be using these sleepers.

The recall system in this country puts the burden on consumers to make sure they receive alerts about recalls and product defects. Registering the products upon purchase will ensure receipt of recall information, but this doesn’t help consumers or daycare centers that use secondhand equipment. Until the method for issuing recall notices is revised, parents are urged to keep the lines of communication with their children’s caregivers open. For more information regarding this issue read, “Dangerous Fisher-Price and Kids II Infant Sleepers Still Used in Day Care Centers.”

cosmetics-warning-400-06517381d-300x200Do you know what’s in the cosmetics you or your children are using? Many people probably don’t take the time to investigate the ingredients in their cosmetics unless they experience some kind of reaction to a particular product. Even if you don’t have a visible reaction, though, your cosmetics could contain unsafe ingredients that could cause injury or illness over the long-term.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has urged Congress to update rules regarding cosmetics safety after issuing an alert advising consumers against using three cosmetics products sold through Claire’s Stores Inc. after tests showed these products contained asbestos, a recognized cancer-causing agent. The accessories company has disputed these claims. To learn more read, “FDA Warns of Asbestos in Claire’s Cosmetics; Company Disputes Claim.”

toy-car-recall-400-05686527d-200x300Children love playing with cars, especially ones they can “drive” themselves. Toy vehicles present children with a great introduction to the rules of the road and the importance of mechanical upkeep. As adult drivers, we’re familiar with vehicle recalls for everything from airbags to tires and any number of other mechanical defects that could lead to injury. While some defects are more serious than others, adult drivers know the best response to a recall is to get the vehicle to the dealer or mechanic as soon as possible for repairs. That’s another lesson children can learn from one of the most recent recalls currently making the news.

Fisher-Price recently recalled thousands of one of its Barbie trademarked vehicles due to a faulty pedal. According to reports, the car continues to run even after the gas pedal has been released. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported as of yet due to this defect, but the toy manufacturer is urging parents to take the car away from their children until repairs can be made. For more details and information on how to have your child’s Barbie car repaired, read “Fisher-Price recalls 44,000 Barbie toy electric cars over faulty pedal.”

Defective products lawsuit; photo of white powder puff and talcum powder on black surfaceA Missouri jury recently ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.14 billion in punitive damages to 22 defendants who claimed use of the company’s talc products led to their development of ovarian cancer. This comes on top of an award of $550 million in compensatory damages, for a grand total of $4.69 billion ordered by that jury, making this the 6th largest jury verdict in U.S. history in a defective products case.

This is the latest in a series of cases against J&J claiming a correlation between extended use of the company’s talc products, including baby powder, and ovarian cancer. A small number of those cases, including the Missouri case cited above, contend that the company’s talc products are contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

A spokesperson for the company stated that J&J, which has been successful in getting past verdicts related to this issue reversed, plans to appeal this latest verdict on grounds that it was the result of a “fundamentally unfair process.” To learn more about this ongoing court battle, read “Johnson & Johnson told to pay $4.7 billion in baby powder case.”

toy-safety-400-06429095d-300x207Could the toys on your child’s holiday wish list be hiding the risk for potential injury? Before you fulfill those wishes, you might want to check out this year’s “Top 10 Worst Toy” list issued by the consumer safety group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, also known as WATCH.

This group has been issuing such lists for more than 40 years to alert consumers to the potential hazards hidden in some of the season’s “must-have” toys. Conversely, an industry trade group known as The Toy Association has criticized WATCH for failing to test the toys on its lists and needlessly scaring parents.

According to The Toy Association, toys must meet stringent safety requirements before they can be sold in the U.S.  WATCH, however, questions the adequacy of these standards, noting a high number of recalls. To learn more about this safety debate and to see which toys made this year’s list, read “Safety Group Unveils Top 10 Worst Toy List for 2017.”

food-processor-recall-400-07820538d-200x300Conair Corp. last month recalled about eight million Cuisinart brand food processors just as home cooks were putting the machines to work chopping, grating and mixing food in preparation for the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. The recall, which involves the stainless steel riveted blades in Cuisinart food processors sold nationwide between July 1996 and December 2015, came after the company received more than 65 complaints from consumers who found pieces of broken blades in food that had been processed with these machines. About 30 of those complaints included reports of cuts to the mouth and tooth injuries.

The sheer number of machines affected makes this one of the three largest appliance recalls ever in America. Consumers were urged to stop using their food processors and contact Cuisinart for a replacement blade. However the timing of the recall, coupled with the fact that homemakers could have had the food processors in their kitchens for more than 20 years, caused some consumers to decide to keep a careful eye on their holiday food preparation rather than participate in the recall. If you own a Cuisinart food processor and want to see if it is affected by this recall, read “8M Cuisinart Food Processors Recalled Over Laceration Hazard.”

phone-batteries-400-06177414dThese days it seems almost everyone is attached to their smart phones. Not only do these devices keep us connected to colleagues, friends and family, they also provide access to a wealth of information with the touch of a finger. Along with all the advantages these mobile devices offer, there are risks -and not only those risks associated with distracted driving.

Samsung, a leading manufacturer of cell phones, recently launched a major recall of the Galaxy Note 7 due to a defective battery. According to reports, the batteries in this particular smart phone are at risk of exploding due to a “manufacturing process error.” There have yet to be reports of injuries stemming from these battery explosions, although investigators are looking into a possible connection between the battery problem and two massive fires (see “Samsung’s recalled Galaxy Note 7 blamed for Jeep and garage fires”). Even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is getting involved by asking customers to not pack these phones into checked baggage and to refrain from turning them on or charging them in flight. For further details, read “FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones …”

bike-helmets-400-07614659dBiking is a popular pastime particularly in the warm weather months, and parents often take their young children along for the ride even before they are able to peddle on their own.  A properly fitted infant bike helmet can help to protect your child from injury while enjoying the ride. In fact, it’s the law.

In New Jersey, everyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. That includes passengers. Parents in the market for an infant bike helmet should be aware that Pacific Cycle, a Wisconsin-based company, has issued a recall for certain infant bicycle helmets bearing the Schwinn brand name. According to reports, the buckles on the helmets’ chin straps can become loose, posing a choking hazard. For details, read “Infant Bike Helmets Sold at Target Recalled Over Choking Hazard.”

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