Archive for the ‘Problem Products’ Category

Sick of Fashion? Or is Fashion Making you Sick?

Friday, October 12th, 2018

 

Anyone who has see the original Star Trek knows that wearing a red shirt is hazardous to your health.  But that hazard may not be limited to wearing red.  It could be that a lot of clothing is hazardous to your health.   

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that exposing children to PFCs lessens their immunoresponse and lessen the effects of vaccination. PFCs have also been associated with a range of other health issues, from low birth rate to prostate cancer.

So, what are PFCs?  PFCs are perfluorinated compounds.  They are chemicals that have been around for years.  And they are often used in making clothing stain resistant and/or waterproof.  The chemicals are also found in common products like GoreTex, Teflon, and Scotchguard.

Other than the standard problem of being dangerous, PFCs are also chemically persistent.  That means it takes a long time for them to break down into less hazardous materials.  They may sit in the environment – or in our bodies, for years.  Or they could rest in the clothing that they treat.

And many clothing companies use a lot of these chemicals.  Greenpeace recently composed a report on several sportswear companies using these chemicals.  The report is here if you’d like to read it.  But the gist of it is that the companies are using a lot of these chemicals that can be hazardous to those making the clothes, and possibly those who are wearing the clothes.  And these chemical like to stick around.  Below is a map of where some PFCs have been found in drinking water.

And it’s not just the clothes.  PFCs are becoming a problem in that the chemical contaminant are hanging around in our drinking water.  But by having them in the clothing we wear, that’s literally rubbing it in.

FDA Blocking Sunscreen

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Melanoma is no laughing matter. A big factor is how much exposure people get to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. We are all for holding responsible parties to account, but it’s hard to hold the sun accountable.

So if you go out in the sun, as the song goes, wear sunscreen. But will that be enough? Not necessarily.

UV radiation of concern comes in two types, A and B. There are other types, but these are filtered by the atmosphere, so we won’t cover those. UV A radiation causes wrinkles and is what causes you to tan. It may also contribute to skin cancer. UV B is the radiation that reddens your skin and causes sunburn, and we have proof that this radiation causes cancer. Yet sunscreen protects us, right?

You’d think so. But the sunscreen we can get in the US may be subpar. The FDA regulates sunscreen as a drug. That means that companies have to jump through sixteen bajillion hoops to change their ingredients and give us more effective sunscreen. In Europe and Australia sunscreen is treated as a cosmetic so companies can change ingredients fairly quickly when they find more effective ingredients. That allows better protection from the sun. When is the last time the FDA approved a new ingredient for sunscreen? 2002.

On top of that, do you know how often the FDA test the sunscreens on the market?  No?  Me neither, because they don’t have a regular schedule.  According to William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumer’s Union, “Most of the time, a sunscreen’s effectiveness has been verified only by the manufacturer and any testing lab it might decide to use—and not by the government.”

So, are we getting burned by the sun, or the inaction of our own government? Perhaps it’s time for the FDA to stop blocking sunscreen.

Risky Business

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Thousands of people across the US have bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and/or depression. Treating these illnesses is serious stuff. Many people have been pharmaceutically treated for these illnesses with Ariprazole (brand name – Abilify) or its successor drug, Brexpriprazole (brand name – Rexulti).


Taking a medicine always involves a risk. For example, these medicines don’t interact well with citrus. But taking a medicine shouldn’t make you more prone to taking risks.

Yet these medicines may drive people to give into their more compulsive urges. That could be gambling, binge eating, sex, or shopping. Yet the first mention of this connection was made in Abilify’s warning label in 2016.  Abilify became available in 2002.

Occasional compulsive behavior is problematic. But if it goes on for fourteen years, that can cause some serious damage.  And that might require some serious legal help. 

If you’ve developed compulsive behavior and were taking one of these drugs, the drug may be a big part of the problem. If that’s the case, come talk with us. It’s a gamble you can’t afford to lose.

Robots Behind the Wheel

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Nikola Tesla made the prediction in the quote above in the last century. Perhaps now it might be more accurate replace slave labor with manual labor, but the point remains the same.

Well, it’s the twenty-first century, but we’re not quite to the point where robot’s labor is doing most of the work. But we seem to be on the way. And the company named after Tesla, Tesla Motors, is a pioneer in replacing labor in part of that. But with every pioneering venture, some things are venturing into parts unknown.

A big unknown is who is going to be responsible when the robot behind the wheel screws up and kills someone? It’s already happened – more than once. In March a Tesla on “Autopilot” failed to stop and crashed into a firetruck stopped on a highway, killing the “driver” of the car.

Tesla claims their Autopilot feature is a driver assistant tool, not a driver replacement. The human driver needs to be ready to take over if needed. According to the vehicles records, the human was warned at several times to pay more attention to what the vehicle was doing and to put human hands back on the steering wheel.

So who will be responsible? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administation (NHTSA) investigated a Tesla autopilot fatality from last year and found that the Tesla’s system was operating as intended. Furthermore, it noted that cars with the “Autopilot” feature were involved in crashes 40% less than average. On the other hand, the National Transportation Safety Board said that Tesla should bear part of the blame for putting out a system that was so easy to misuse.

So who is responsible for a robot’s behavior when it does something wrong? The owner is responsible when a dog misbehaves. But a dog is capable of its own independent judgement without human assistance. And we hardly trust a dog, no matter how well trained, with the judgement to guide a vehicle moving at 60 mph and weighing over 1000 pounds. The issue of liability comes down to control. But do you have a responsibility to control your vehicle? Or are you at the whim of the software? And we’re not even considering whether your robot has been hacked at this stage. Will liability be determined by the autonomy level of the vehicle?

So the robots are not ready to take over quite yet.

Knee Recalls and Kicking Buckets

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

As joints go, the knee is pretty simple. It allows the leg to bend in one direction. Compared to the complexity of directions allowed by the shoulders, hips, and wrists, it does just one thing. So it needs to do it well. And just as your knee has to do it well, so do the replacements when they become necessary. Alas, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Zimmer is the world’s largest manufacturer of artificial knees. And they are having a recall on their Persona Knee implants. Technically the full name is the Zimmer Persona Trabecular Metal Tibial Plate knee implant, but we’re just going to call it the Persona.

The Persona is having issues. It can cause Radiolucent lines – these are large gaps in between the knee replacement component and the bone, which can be problematic.

These problems may include implant failure, pain, swelling, tissue damage and osteolysis (medical for bone damage). This may need to have the knee replacement redone completely – as if having it done the first time wasn’t fun enough.

In theory, a knee implant should last twenty years. Yet many of these have failed within three years. If the complications are serious enough it could be deadly.

If you have had a knee replacement and are having issues talk to your doctor.  And talk to us.

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Pressure Cooking in Summer

As the weather is hot, it’s a nice break now and then to think of winter and the holidays.  When I think of the winter holidays, I also think about the great food associated with it.  We all want something good to eat, and here’s a link to some appropriate music to go with it.  Don’t worry – I’m not sending  you to Christmas music in July.

We all want to make something special for our loved ones, especially over the holidays. Alas, one company has made this challenging. Tristar Products makes a pressure cooker that they promoted as an “amazing, one-button kitchen miracle.” I probably wouldn’t use that word. That “kitchen miracle” has a habit of not being able to handle the pressure of the holidays – or any other time.

The Power Pressure Cooker XL has a nasty habit of exploding. This has caused severe burns to a number of people.

Pressure cookers can be tricky. Several companies that have made them and had problems over the years. But the problems with the Tristar model were so numerous that judges have approved a class action lawsuit to try to deal with the claims.

No one likes to be sold a faulty product. No one likes to get burned – Sorry, but in this case, pun intended. If that happened to you, let us help.

Abra Pradaxa

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

It’s amazing what medical science can do. New medicines can sometimes it seem like magic.  But medicines are not magic.  

They need to be thoroughly tested to make sure they are not causing more harm than good.  

Case in point – Pradaxa: In 2010 the FDA approved the drug dabigatran under the brand name Pradaxa. It was approved to treat atrial fibrillaion. In 2014 it was approved for use to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). But it wasn’t magic. Pradaxa had a serious side effect – internal bleeding. And doctors didn’t find a way to mitigate that condition until 2014. This complication caused bleeding of the kidneys and in the gastrointestinal system. In addition, the drug may have led to dyspepsia, further heart problems, strokes, brain hemorrhages, and deaths associated with those conditions.

Boehringer Ingelheim, Pradaxa’s manufacturer, settled thousands of class action lawsuits in 2014, paying $650 million dollars.

But just settling some lawsuits didn’t make Boehringer’s problems go away like magic. There are still some suits out there, and some that are still being filed.

If you think you are having issues because you were prescribed Pradaxa, contact us right away. If you wait too long your chances of getting justice may vanish like a rabbit into a magician’s hat. Unlike the magic the stage magician uses, the statutes of limitations can make some things vanish forever.

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Meshy Business

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

You’ve heard the expression – always go with your gut feeling.  If your gut tells you something is wrong, even if you can’t figure out what it is, check it out.

Back in June we talked about Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon and that they were withdrawing their Physiomesh product from the market. The Physiomesh is a fabric inserted into the body to help repair hernias. The Physiomesh was withdrawn for high revision rates. If you recall, the revision rate is measurement of how often a medical procedure such as surgery has to be redone. So if two out of every hundred procedure needed to be done the revision rate would be 2%.

In defending itself in a Georgia lawsuit regarding the failure of the Physiomesh to do an adequate job, one of the defenses Ethicon is putting forth is the physician instructions.

Let’s think about this.

Let say I make 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 100 each with three different brands of bread. If the jelly squirts out the sandwich needs to be remade – we’ll call that the revision rate. So if the jelly squirts out twice with brand A bread, brand A has a 2 % revision rate. If the jelly squirts out four times with brand B, brand B has a 4% revision rate. Let’s say that the jelly squirts out twenty times with brand C. 

Now explain this to me – Did the instructions of how to make a PBJ really affect how often the jelly squirted out of the sandwich? Or was it the bread?

I know this is oversimplifying things, but in this instance the jelly squirting out is someone’s innards and probably pretty darn painful. And redoing abdominal surgery is a lot more pain and expense than making a sandwich.

Instructions? My gut says otherwise. How about yours?

If you are having complications due to Physiomesh, give us a call.

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