Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FDA Warns Consumers to Avoid TimeOut Capsules

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take TimeOut Capsules because it contains an active drug ingredient that can dangerously lower blood pressure. The product is marketed as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement.

TimeOut is labeled as “100% natural” and consumers may mistakenly assume the product is harmless and poses no health risk. TimeOut is distributed on Internet sites and online marketplaces as 2,500 mg capsules.

Consumers who have TimeOut Capsules should stop using them immediately. Sexual enhancement products that claim to work as well as prescription products are likely to expose consumers to unpredictable risks and the potential for injury or death.

The FDA analyzed TimeOut and determined that it contains hydroxythiohomosildenafil, a chemical similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. Like sildenafil, this chemical may interact with prescription drugs such as nitrates, including nitroglycerin, and cause dangerously low blood pressure. When blood pressure drops suddenly, the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply which can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.

To date, the FDA is not aware of any adverse events associated with the use of this product.

The FDA advises consumers who have experienced any negative side effects from sexual enhancement products to consult a health care professional and to safely discard the product. Consumers and health care professionals should report adverse events to the FDA's MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088 or online.

During the past several years, the FDA has found many products marketed as dietary supplements for sexual enhancement that can be harmful to consumers because they are adulterated with ingredients in FDA-approved drugs or variations of these ingredients.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

FDA Warns of Possible Dangers from Portable Foot-Tanning Device

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about the risk of ultraviolet radiation overdose with the Tootsie Tanner portable foot tanning device.

Use of the tanning device can lead to an overdose of ultraviolet radiation because its labeling recommends an improper duration of exposure to radiation and the device has an inadequate timer. The labeled exposure schedule indicates that the device may be used for 30 minutes, and the timer control permits 30 minutes exposure. Based on FDA testing, the maximum exposure time for this device is 20 minutes.

The device fails to provide prominent warnings about the need for protective eyewear. Use of this product according to the labeling could result in an overdose of ultraviolet radiation, which may cause immediate and delayed serious eye and skin injuries.

The FDA has issued a warning letter to the device manufacturer and distributor, IPCH, located in Sugarland, Texas. Since issuing the warning letter, the FDA learned that IPCH is no longer in business. Thus, the device will not be replaced or updated with the correct labeling. Refunds will not be available for the estimated 3,000 devices sold.

The FDA recommends that users of this device, which include tanning salon owners and operators, stop using this device, remove the lamps and safely discard all components of the device according to local environmental protection standards.

Although the FDA has received no adverse event reports to date, the agency is concerned about the risk of eye and skin injuries from an overdose of ultraviolet radiation.

Consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) with the device to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax, or phone.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

A Wake-Up Call: Bed Bugs Migrate into the Workplace

/PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta-based pest control leader Orkin identified that bed bugs are making the move among commercial properties. New analysis of its commercial bed bug treatments over the past 10 years reveals that bed bugs, initially confined to the hospitality industry, have steadily increased their presence in multifamily and, more recently, commercial real estate properties.

With the hospitality and multifamily industries on the front lines of the bed bug resurgence, the potential for business travelers and apartment-dwelling employees to pick up bed bugs and bring them into the office has greatly increased. This exposure created a perfect storm for commercial real estate. Orkin conducted a survey with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International in early 2010 and found that one in 10 respondents reported bed bug incidents in a commercial property.

"Ten percent may not sound significant at first," noted Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Orkin's director of technical services. "But it is a concerning statistic when you consider that these properties don't represent the typical bed bug habitat - a place where people sleep."

Harrison spoke at the BOMA International annual conference in June to address the impending threat to commercial property managers and building owners, noting that Orkin's bed bug treatments in commercial properties more than tripled from 2008 to 2009.

"At BOMA International, we felt it was important to be proactive in presenting this information to our members," said BOMA Senior Vice President Patricia M. Areno, CAE. "Commercial real estate leaders have the opportunity to educate themselves and their tenants to prepare for a possible bed bug epidemic."

Bed bugs are reddish-brown blood-feeders roughly the size and shape of apple seeds. The nocturnal pests surfaced from nearly a half-century of inactivity in the early part of this decade, predominantly in hotels. Increased international travel and a more targeted approach to pest control contributed to bed bugs reestablishing a presence in the U.S. Nationally, Orkin saw bed bug treatments double from 2008 to 2009, a trend it expects will continue this year. While New York City has been in the news recently for its efforts to curb bed bugs, the top five hot spots for bed bug activity, according to Orkin treatment data, are Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, followed by Chicago, Denver and Detroit.

Orkin's treatments in commercial real estate are still limited when compared with the hospitality and multifamily industries. In Orkin's Midwest Commercial Region, which services four of the company's top five bed bug cities, office building treatments range from 10-15 per month. Harrison hopes that the educational measures Orkin has initiated will keep it that way, even as high-profile incidents like retail store infestations in the Northeast garner nationwide media exposure.

"Commercial real estate is facing what multifamily dwellings faced a few years ago," said Harrison, who remembers the number of bed bug incidents in multifamily housing significantly increasing in 2008.

Unlike sparsely furnished hotel rooms, apartments and condos contain personal belongings and more furniture, providing ample shelter for bed bugs. Orkin experts also observe that apartment dwellers often recycle furniture from prior residents, which can perpetuate an existing infestation. By the close of the decade and for the first time since bed bugs resurfaced, Orkin treatments in multifamily properties exceeded those in hospitality, in some regions by three or four times the volume.

Harrison collaborated with the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) earlier this year on a bed bug white paper and a series of webinars for property management professionals, and participated in the National Apartment Association's annual conference.

"In addition to learning identification and remediation techniques, apartment management professionals were eager to discuss how to communicate with residents about bed bug prevention," said Maureen Lambe, CAE, executive vice president of the NAA Education Institute. "Our members recognize that good communication and resident cooperation are critical to successful remediation."

Bed Bug Resources for Multifamily and Commercial Properties:
-- EVICTING UNWANTED RESIDENTS: Responsibility, Prevention and Treatment
of Bed Bugs in the Multifamily Industry
-- Don't Let Them Bite Our Community Multifamily Resident Tipsheet
-- Bed Bugs in the Office?: Take ACTION! Resource for Commercial Property
Managers

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

U.S. Appeals Court Reinstates Claim That Controversial Diet Drug Redux Should Never Have Been Offered to American People

/PRNewswire/ -- An Ohio Federal Court of Appeals ruling issued yesterday is reinstating the late victim's claim that the recalled diet drug Redux (commonly called fen-phen) linked to her death should never have been marketed to the American people by Wyeth due in part to its pre-approval concerns about potentially lethal side effects. The Court, in remanding the case to the trial court, held that Federal drug regulations do not preempt Ohio negligence claims, and indicated that the Supreme Court's 2009 landmark pharmaceutical manufacturer preemption decision (Wyeth v. Levine) may apply beyond inadequate warning-label claims.

Benjamin H. Anderson, Esq., of Anderson Law Offices, LLC of Cleveland, Ohio, counsel for the plaintiff, said, "Mary Buchanan, like so many others, turned to a drug to help her lose weight and as a result she lost her life. She and her surviving family members deserve justice; this is an important decision in her case and for the harms and losses she sustained, as well as the many millions of Americans taking prescription medications who have long been concerned about drug companies being shielded from appropriate state negligence laws. Significantly, the appeals court has also reinstated and remanded to the trial court our claim for punitive damages."

In reversing key sections of the trial court's finding for the defendant on summary judgment in Wimbush v. Wyeth et.al., 6th Cir. No. 09-3380, the three-judge appeals panel held that the trial judge erred in concluding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) preempted the Buchanan family's negligence claims that the drug should never have been made available to Americans given Wyeth-Redux's known health risks, particularly Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH). Mrs. Buchanan, a hard-working and dedicated 66- year-old nurse from Maple Heights, Ohio who took the weight-loss drug during 1996 and 1997, lost her life to PPH in 2003 within a few months after filing the complaint. The drug company, which spent more than $50 million marketing the wildly popular and profitable drug after its launch in April 1996, pulled it on September 15, 1997 at the request of the FDA and under mounting criticism by independent researchers and reports in respected medical journals.

Though Redux was only on the market for a relatively short period, to date it is estimated that Wyeth has paid thousands of victims of Redux and its predecessor, Pondimin - and/or their survivors - more than $20 billion in damages. In evaluating the potential side effects of Redux, researchers noted that PPH is a devastating pulmonary disease for which there is still no cure, and the associated heart-valve problems may and often did require high-risk heart surgery. The controversial, high-risk diet drug had previously been evaluated and pulled from pharmacies overseas and it was banned in some individual states before the total recall.

In its decision, the appeals Court stated, "...we are not persuaded that it is always impossible to comply with both state law duties and FDA regulations in the process leading up to FDA approval." It added, "...we cannot agree with the district court's conclusion as, not only is there a presumption against preemption, but the case law supports the conclusion that Congress did not intend to preempt state tort law claims when it passed the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FDCA)."

In a footnote, it commented "...the overwhelming take-away from the Levine majority opinion is that state tort law has historically played a substantial role in the regulation of drug manufacturers and that Congress has never indicated an intent to change this role. Thus, while Levine did leave open the possibility that there may be some state law claims that would conflict with the FDA's regulatory authority and function, the claim at issue in Levine was not one of them. We do not believe that Buchanan's pre-approval negligence claims are, either."

Attorney Anderson, commenting on the interpretation of the Levine ruling in the case, said, "Drug companies are now on notice that they cannot lie to and conceal from the FDA crucial information in the pre-approval process and then expect to be held harmless once their drugs are responsible for causing pain, suffering and, as in Mrs. Buchanan's case, death."

The Court affirmed the dismissal of the balance of the plaintiff's claims, and Attorney Anderson said he will evaluate with appellate counsel Paul Flowers, Esq., and Mrs. Buchanan's family all appropriate legal options.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Studies Link Range of Major Diseases to Pesticides, New Database Launched

/PRNewswire/ -- Links to pesticide exposure are being found in a growing number of studies that evaluate the causes of preventable diseases -- including asthma, autism and learning disabilities, birth defects and reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and several types of cancer. A new database, released today, tracks published epidemiologic and real world exposure studies. The studies challenge the effectiveness of risk-assessment-based regulation which is intended to manage adverse disease outcomes, but is criticized for allowing the uses of chemicals that can be replaced by green technologies and practices.

To capture the range of diseases linked to pesticides through epidemiologic studies, the national environmental and public health group Beyond Pesticides launched in the summer issue of its newsletter, Pesticides and You, the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database to track the studies. "A read through the scientific literature on pesticides and major preventable diseases afflicting us in the 21st century suggests that one of the first responses called for is an all out effort to stop using toxic pesticides," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. The database begins an ongoing effort by Beyond Pesticides to maintain this comprehensive database of the studies that the group says "supports an urgent need to shift to toxic-free practices and policies."

The group is calling for alternatives assessment in environmental rulemaking that creates a regulatory trigger to adopt alternatives and drive the market to go green. "Under risk assessment, we constantly play with 'mitigation measures' that the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database tells us over and over is a failed human experiment," said Mr. Feldman.

The alternatives assessment approach differs most dramatically from risk assessment in rejecting uses and exposures deemed acceptable under risk assessment calculations, but unnecessary because of the availability of safer alternatives. For example, in agriculture, where the database shows clear links to pesticide use and multiple types of cancer, it would no longer be possible to use hazardous pesticides, as it is with risk assessment-based policy, when there are clearly effective organic systems with competitive yields that, in fact, outperform chemical-intensive agriculture in drought years. This same analysis can be applied to home and garden use of pesticides where households using pesticides suffer elevated rates of cancer.

Earlier this year Beyond Pesticides released its Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience guide that explains how foods grown with hazardous chemicals contaminate water and air, hurt biodiversity, harm farmworkers, and kill bees, birds, fish and other wildlife even though the finished commodities, often referred to as "clean," may have minimal or nondetectable residues. The guide can be found at www.eatingwithaconscience.org.

The Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database, which currently contains 383 entries of epidemiologic and laboratory exposure studies, will be continually updated to track the emerging findings and trends. To view the database, go to www.beyondpesticides.org/health.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Report concludes that nearly 80 percent of oil from Gulf spill remains

A report released August 16 by the Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia concludes that up to 79 percent of the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon well has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem.

The report, authored by five prominent marine scientists, strongly contradicts media reports that suggest that only 25 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill remains.

“One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and, therefore, harmless,” said Charles Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant and professor of marine sciences in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade. We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are.”

Co-authors on the paper include Jay Brandes, associate professor, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography; Samantha Joye, professor of marine sciences, UGA; Richard Lee, professor emeritus, Skidaway; and Ming-yi Sun, professor of marine sciences UGA.

The group analyzed data from the Aug. 2 National Incident Command Report, which calculated an “oil budget” that was widely interpreted to suggest that only 25 percent of the oil from the spill remained.

Hopkinson notes that the reports arrive at different conclusions largely because the Sea Grant and UGA scientists estimate that the vast majority of the oil classified as dispersed, dissolved or residual is still present, whereas the NIC report has been interpreted to suggest that only the “residual” form of oil is still present.

Hopkinson said that his group also estimated how much of the oil could have evaporated, degraded or weathered as of the date of the report. Using a range of reasonable evaporation and degradation estimates, the group calculated that 70-79 percent of oil spilled into the Gulf still remains. The group showed that it was impossible for all the dissolved oil to have evaporated because only oil at the surface of the ocean can evaporate into the atmosphere and large plumes of oil are trapped in deep water.

Another difference is that the NIC report estimates that 4.9 million barrels of oil were released from the wellhead, while the Sea Grant report uses a figure of 4.1 million barrels since .8 million barrels were piped directly from the well to surface ships and, therefore, never entered Gulf waters.

On a positive note, the group noted that natural processes continue to transform, dilute, degrade and evaporate the oil. They add that circular current known as the Franklin Eddy is preventing the Loop Current from bringing oil-contaminated water from the Gulf to the Atlantic, which bodes well for the East Coast.

Joye said that both the NIC report and the Sea Grant report are best estimates and emphasizes the need for a sustained and coordinated research effort to better understand the impacts of what has become the world’s worst maritime oil spill. She warned that neither report accounted for hydrocarbon gasses such as methane in their oil budgets.

“That’s a gaping hole,” Joye said, “because hydrocarbon gasses are a huge portion of what was ejected from the well.”

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Independent Toxicologists Issue Warning: We Object to the Claim That Chemical Dispersants Have A Low Potential For Accumulating in Marine Life and Do Not Pose an Environmental Health Concern

/PRNewswire/ -- Attorney Stuart H. Smith, representing the United Commercial Fishermen's Association, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, public and private entities, and citizens harmed by the BP oil catastrophe, today issued this statement:

"Independent analysis by toxicologists dispute FDA claims made in the last few days that chemical dispersants used by BP during the oil catastrophe may not accumulate in marine animals.

"In fact, in a full report by Dr. Bill Sawyer released today, there is a grave problem caused by dispersants, due to the fact that these were used in deep waters and on such a vast scale.

"Studies of other spills show that the toxic components of crude oil 'bio-accumulate' into the food chain and become highly toxic to marine reproduction, even when dispersants are applied at the surface and the chemical toxins may be sufficiently diluted over time to pose only minimal risks.

"However, BP's use of dispersants deep underwater in the Gulf, and on such a vast scale, represents the first time dispersants have been used in this manner. The greatly-reduced biodegradation in the DEEPWATER HORIZON case, resulting from lack of sunlight, extreme cold temperatures at 5,000 feet, and other environmental factors significantly reduce the rate at which the dispersed crude components are degraded.

"Eight months would be required to remove 96 percent of the petroleum under ideal conditions, thus we can only assume what remains in the Gulf waters will be a 'toxic soup' of chemicals for the foreseeable future, due to the worst-case scenario which has unfolded.

"The most potentially dangerous of the components in the Gulf's toxic soup are 'polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons' (PAHs), dangerous cancer-causing chemicals which slowly break down after being ingested by marine life, persist in marine organisms and can be passed to both humans and other wildlife through consumption.

"PAHs are not contained within the dispersants used, but rather, have been extracted from the BP crude and suspended in the water column via dispersant use.

"It must also be noted that the deep water National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weatherbird analyses and our own near shore water, tunicate and beach samples have revealed a consistent pattern of dispersant-induced C19-C36 hydrocarbons and PAHs. Unfortunately, these specific PAHs are of the most toxic variety."

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Don't eat a plant unless you can identify it

During summer, children are outside more, and the vibrant colors and smells of blooming flowers might lead them to take a little taste of a plant. This can be dangerous.

The Georgia Poison Control Center often receives questions about the dangers of mushrooms or houseplants, said Gaylord Lopez, the center’s director. But when someone calls about the toxicity of any plant, the answers to a series of questions determine how much exposure someone has had to the plant. The information is then compared to a plant database to see if signs or symptoms match the toxicity.

Lopez advises homeowners to identify the plants in their landscape and label them for easy identification. This information can prove life-saving if the plant is ever eaten.

“Most plant ingestions are by children, accidental, and in small quantities of only a couple of berries or leaves,” he said. Poison control operators advise callers on how to respond based on how much was eaten and which parts of the plant were swallowed. If someone eats high quantities of any plant, hospitalization may be required.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist Gary Wade says there are several poisonous plants in home landscapes.

“Most people don’t commonly eat leaves from plants in their landscape, but you never know when young children or playful teenagers will grab a few leaves and put them in their mouths, becoming nauseous or developing symptoms similar to food poisoning,” Wade said. “Furthermore, culinary experts use the flowers of nasturtiums and pansies in salads and as garnishes, but this does not mean that all flowers are edible.”

A few common landscape plants that contain toxic compounds capable of causing flu-like symptoms when eaten are azaleas, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Their leaves, stems, flowers and even their pollen contain andromedotoxin, which can cause headache, nausea and respiratory problems. Oakleaf hydrangeas have the compound hydragin in their leaves and buds. When eaten, these plant parts can cause stomach ache and diarrhea.

Ornamental cherries, including the cultivars Yoshino, Okame and Kwansan, are popular landscape plants. Their leaves, stems and seeds contain cyanogenic glycoside, a compound known to cause respiratory problems, dizziness and convulsions when eaten.

Wisteria pods and seeds contain a glycoside called wisterin that causes stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when eaten.

Angel’s Trumpet has become a popular plant in landscapes in recent years. Unfortunately, all parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids, which cause headaches, convulsions and severe respiratory problems when swallowed.

“People should not stop planting these plants. They just need to be aware of their toxic properties when ingested and should be cautious when allowing young children, or even pets, to play around them,” Wade said. “The word poisonous does not mean deadly. The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount eaten and the plant part eaten.”

While poisonous plants are inconvenient to people, the toxins do serve a purpose to the plant. They are defense mechanisms plants use as protection from predators such as insects and bacteria. Plant poisons are so successful at keeping insects away that several early pesticides were mimics of naturally-
occurring chemicals of poisonous plants, said Matthew Chappell, a UGA Extension horticulturist.

“There is a small percentage of harmful poisonous plants if eaten, however, people need to be aware of the dangers of eating poisonous plants. If someone wants to eat a plant in the landscape they must be well versed in keying and identifying plants beforehand,” Chappell said. “If you are not a plant expert and would like to eat something in your landscape, call your local Extension office and ask them to identify the plant for you.”

For more information on poisonous plants around the home, see UGA Extension circular 957, Poisonous Plants in the Landscape, available on-line at http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubs/PDF/C957.pdf.



By Winston Dangler
University of Georgia

Winston Dangler is a student writer for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

U.S. Workers Risking Injury by Not Wearing Required Safety Equipment

/PRNewswire/ -- Nearly all of the safety professionals in a survey released today said that workers in their organizations had at some point failed to wear the necessary safety equipment while on the job.

An exceedingly high 98 percent of respondents who attended the recent American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) show in Baltimore answered "yes" when asked if they had observed workers not wearing safety equipment when they should have been, according to the survey, which was conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional.

To make matters worse, 30 percent of these respondents said this had happened on numerous occasions. Given this, it's not surprising that worker compliance with personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols was cited as the top workplace safety issue by all survey respondents.

These findings are in keeping with results from surveys of safety professionals, conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress in 2008, 2007 and 2006. Those surveys also found high levels of noncompliance with PPE protocols -- 89 percent in 2008, 87 percent in 2007 and 85 percent in 2006.

"Increasingly high noncompliance with PPE protocols is an alarming trend and a serious threat to worker health and safety," said Gina Tsiropoulos, manufacturing segment marketing manager for Kimberly-Clark Professional. "Whether this is a result of economic conditions, a flawed approach to safety programs, younger workers who are more inclined to take greater risks, or some other reason, it's essential that workers wear PPE when it is required. PPE protects workers against injury, but it will not work if workers fail to use it and use it properly."

It's no wonder then that three-quarters of respondents chose workplace accidents and injuries in response to the question: "What is most likely to keep you up at night?" Potential exposure because of noncompliance with PPE protocols was second, at 13 percent, while fear of a global pandemic and its impact on the workforce was a distant third, cited by only 8 percent of respondents.

Most Challenging PPE

When it comes to compliance with PPE use protocols, eye protection was found to be the "most challenging" PPE category, according to 42 percent of respondents, a disturbing though not unexpected finding considering that nearly three out of five workers who experienced eye injuries were found not to be wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job.(1) Add to this the facts that about 2,000 U.S. workers each day have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment(2) and that thousands are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented(3) and the magnitude of the problem becomes clear.

The next highest category for noncompliance was hearing protection, also disturbing since occupational noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable when proper preventative measures are implemented. It was followed by gloves and head protection.

While the reasons for PPE noncompliance were varied, the biggest complaint was that it was "uncomfortable," selected by 40 percent of respondents, followed by:

-- Too hot
-- Not available near the work task
-- Poor fit
-- Unattractive looking


When asked what they had done or intended to do to improve compliance levels, these safety professionals' top choice was to improve existing education and training programs. This was followed by:

-- Increased monitoring of employees
-- Purchasing more comfortable PPE
-- Tying compliance to individual performance evaluations
-- Purchasing more stylish PPE
-- Developing incentive programs to encourage greater PPE compliance

How can Suppliers Help?

The issue of PPE comfort came to the fore again when safety professionals were asked what suppliers could do to improve their offerings. The number one selection was to "provide more comfortable PPE," followed by:

-- Providing more instruction on the proper use of PPE
-- Reducing prices
-- Providing greater size selection
-- Offering more stylish PPE

PPE of the Future

When safety professionals were asked about their visions for the future of PPE, fit, comfort and style took precedence. Forty-two percent of respondents said they would like to see PPE that automatically adjusts to fit different body types, hands, heads, faces, etc. Next was PPE with customizable style and design options, so that workers could select PPE based on their own individual tastes and safety requirements (32 percent). This was followed by PPE designed with integrated climate-control features, providing cooling or warmth as needed (15 percent).

The impact of customization and style on PPE compliance was further underscored by the response to another question. When asked if customizable or individualized style and design options would help increase PPE compliance, 87 percent of respondents said that it would.

'Toxic Towels'

Safety professionals were also asked about another area of concern -- the potential health and safety issues for workers posed by oil, grease, heavy metal residues or toxic elements on re-usable Rental Shop Towels. Sixty percent said they were disturbed by these hazards, with 20 percent of these respondents reporting they were "very concerned."

Worries about the risks to workers from "toxic towels" were the chief reason why safety professionals said they would switch to disposable wiping solutions from re-usable rental shop towels. What was the second most important reason for a potential change? A closed-loop solution that converts used disposable wipers to energy and diverts them from landfills. Not surprising, given the increased emphasis on environmental responsibility in manufacturing.

"Manufacturing facilities today are focused now more than ever before on conserving natural resources and reducing waste," said Tsiropoulos. "So a closed-loop solution for used wipers is a very appealing option."

Survey Methodology

The survey of 132 attendees at the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) show in Baltimore, Md., was conducted via the Internet between June 9 and 13, 2010. All survey respondents said they were responsible for purchasing, selecting or influencing the purchase or selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or industrial wiping solutions. Ninety percent were safety directors or managers, while the other 10 percent were industrial hygienists, facilities or general managers, or held other positions. They were employed in the following fields: chemical/plastics manufacturing; construction/utilities; computer, electronics and electrical product manufacturing; food processing; metal manufacturing; transpiration equipment manufacturing or other fields.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk From Frozen Rodents Fed to Reptiles

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. and international customers who may have purchased frozen mice from Biggers and Callaham LLC, doing business as MiceDirect, that these products, which are used as food for reptiles, have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Because children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for salmonellosis, they should avoid handling either frozen rodents used as reptile food or reptiles. Children 5 years and under should not handle either frozen rodents used as reptile food or reptiles.

After handling either frozen rodents used as reptile food or reptiles themselves, individuals should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water and use a disinfectant to thoroughly clean any surfaces that have been in contact with frozen rodents.

The FDA is actively investigating positive Salmonella findings in frozen mice and environmental samples taken at the company's Cleveland, Ga. plant. After being informed of the positive samples, Biggers and Callaham voluntarily recalled all frozen mice, rats and chicks purchased between May 2009 and July 23, 2010. The frozen reptile feed was distributed in all states, except Hawaii, through pet stores and by mail order and direct delivery.

On Aug. 2, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 34 human illnesses in 17 states were associated with handling frozen rodents used for reptile food sourced from Biggers and Callaham. In general, snakes and other reptiles can harbor many strains of Salmonella for several years, but still appear healthy.

Frozen reptile feed was shipped in plastic bags with the following product codes M-SP100, M-P100, M-PF100, M-F100, M-H100, M-W50, M-A50, M-JA25, R-P100, R-F50, R-PUP50, R-W50, R-S50, R-M20, R-L10,R-J5, R-C5, R-M3 followed by E9, F9, G9, H9, I9, J9, K9, L9 or A10, B10, C10, D10, E10, F10, G10 and whole frozen chicks in 25 count bags.

The FDA advises customers with the contaminated product to place it in a sealed container in the trash so that no children, pets, or other animals, such as wildlife, may be able to reach it.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. People infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Most people recover from Salmonella infections within four to seven days without treatment. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses, such as arterial infections (infected aneurysms), infection of the lining of the heart, and arthritis.

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