Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bumbo Does It Again, Recalls Millions of Baby Seats

19 skull fractures later, Bumbo adds a safety belt, and another warning label

By James R. Hood,

The Bumbo is a baby seat that helps babies sit up before they are able to do so on their own.

This is not a particularly good idea, since babies are not only top-heavy but also tend to be emotionally volatile and physically active. One good rock backwards and an infant can either fall out of the seat or cause it to overturn.

"I was in the bath and my 6-month-old son Billy was in the bathroom with me right next to the bath in his Bumbo playing with a toy when he dropped it. As he was reaching for it, he fell straight out onto his head," a mom named Zoe said in a ConsumerAffairs review in March. "I did not leave him alone. I was right next to him. The purpose of a Bumbo is so that they can sit unaided safely. You don't expect to have to hold them in the Bumbo just in case they fall out!"

It's bad enough if the seat is on the floor, as in Zoe's case, but it's potentially disastrous if it's on a table or a counter. This is not just a theoretical risk. There have been at least 50 accidents, including 19 skull fractures, since October 2007.

October 2007 is the magic date when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ordered a recall of about a million of the seats. Were they rounded up and destroyed? Fitted with seat belts? Equipped with safety helmets?

No. Instead, the "recall" consisted of mailing warning labels to parents, cautioning them not to let their children fall out of the seat.

So here we are more than four years later and there are now four million of the seats in the U.S. Once again, Bumbo is issuing a recall, this time to add not just another sticker but also a safety belt that will keep babies from falling out.

The belts won't keep the seats from falling over though. The new warning label will caution parents not to put the seats on an elevated surface or to leave children alone in the seat.

Read the entire article here.

Cell-phone tower construction rankles neighborhoods

By Rosemary Shinohara, Anchorage Daily News

New wireless communication towers are popping up in Anchorage, Mat-Su and elsewhere in Alaska as a big new company, Verizon Wireless, moves into the state and other cell phone companies upgrade their networks.

Verizon is set to begin Alaska service sometime in 2013.

The increase in cell towers is leading to conflicts in some areas between residents who don't want tall poles and antennas looming over their yards -- and companies competing to offer ever-more sophisticated cell phone services.

For example, east-side residents joined a battle this week over a proposal to build a 100-foot tower at 2100 E. Northern Lights Boulevard, in the parking lot of a medical building near Northern Lights and Lake Otis Parkway.

The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday rejected the tower site after city officials said it didn't fit with the College Village neighborhood just off Northern Lights.

In Turnagain, another controversy has developed over a plan to install a tower at a site off Wisconsin Street between 31st and 32nd avenues.

In the Valley, there's also trouble brewing. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough no longer requires permits to build towers, so residents may not even hear about plans until construction materials start arriving.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Codeine Use in Certain Children After Tonsillectomy and/or Adenoidectomy: Drug Safety Communication

Risk of Rare, But Life-Threatening Adverse Events or Death


The FDA is reviewing reports of children who developed serious adverse effects or died after taking codeine for pain relief after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Recently, three pediatric deaths and one non-fatal but life-threatening case of respiratory depression were documented in the medical literature.

These children (ages two to five) had evidence of an inherited (genetic) ability to convert codeine into life-threatening or fatal amounts of morphine in the body. All children had received doses of codeine that were within the typical dose range.

When codeine is ingested, it is converted to morphine in the liver by an enzyme called cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Some people have DNA variations that make this enzyme more active, causing codeine to be converted to morphine faster and more completely than in other people. These “ultra-rapid metabolizers” are more likely to have higher than normal amounts of morphine in their blood after taking codeine. High levels of morphine can result in breathing difficulty, which may be fatal. Taking codeine after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy may increase the risk for breathing problems and death in children who are “ultra-rapid metabolizers.” See the FDA Drug Safety Communication for additional information, including a Data Summary.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recalls For Tuesday, August 14

Kumho Recalling Tires

Sidewall cracks could result in air loss

Read the entire article here.

Mercedes-Benz Recalling Floor Mats

Ill-fitting mats could entrap the accelerator pedal

Read the entire article here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Burch Equipment LLC Expands Recall to Include Additional Cantaloupe Shipping Dates and to include Honeydew Melons


Burch Equipment LLC, North Carolina, is expanding its recall to include all of this growing season's cantaloupes and honeydew melons that may remain on the market because they may possibly be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been no illnesses reported to date.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. The incubation period (the length of time between consuming a product and becoming ill) for Listeria monocytogenes can be 1 to 3 weeks, but may be in the range of 3 to 70 days.

The whole cantaloupes are identified by a red label reading Burch Farms referencing PLU # 4319. All cantaloupes involved in the recall were grown by Burch Farms, however some of the cantaloupes may have been identified with a "Cottle Strawberry, Inc." sticker referencing PLU #4319 (note: Cottle Strawberry, Inc. did not grow or process the cantaloupe involved in this recall). Cantaloupes from Burch Farms were shipped in both corrugated boxes (9 cantaloupe per case) and in bulk bins.

Honeydew melons involved in this recall expansion do not bear any identifying stickers and were packed in cartons labeled melons.

Consumers who may have purchased these honeydew melons should contact the store where they purchased their melons, for information about whether those melons are part of this recall.

The cantaloupes and honeydew melons involved in this expanded recall were sold to distributors between June 23rd and July 27th, in the following states: FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA, VT and WV. The melons may have further been distributed to retail stores, restaurants and food service facilities in other states."

Burch Equipment LLC is requesting any consumer that may have one of these cantaloupes or honeydews to discard the product.

There have been no illnesses reported to date. FDA and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are working with Burch Equipment LLC following a random sample of a cantaloupe testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

This recall expansion is based on FDA's finding of Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon grown and packed by Burch.

Questions can be directed to Burch Equipment LLC at 910-267-5781 Monday through Friday, (9:00am to 4:00pm) or email

Link to article here.

Missa Bay, LLC Announces Voluntary Recall Of Fruit, Vegetable, and Sandwhich Products Containing Apples Because of Possible Health Risk


Missa Bay, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ready Pac Foods, Inc., of Swedesboro, New Jersey is voluntarily recalling a total of 293,488 cases and 296,224 individually distributed units of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products containing apples, as listed below, with the Use‐by dates of July 8, 2012 through August 20, 2012 because they contain diced or sliced apples which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious or life‐threatening food borne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include fever, muscle aches, gastro intestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. The illness primarily impacts pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.

The recalled products were produced and distributed from the Missa Bay, LLC facility to retailers and foodservice operators in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

This recall notification is being issued due to finding Listeria monocytogenes on equipment used by Missa Bay, LLC to produce apple products. Missa Bay, LLC is coordinating closely with regulatory officials. No illnesses have been reported in association with this voluntary recall.

Only the specific products identified in the list below are included in the recall. Retailers and foodservice operators should check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the product is present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories.

Consumers who may have purchased the affected product are asked to record the Use‐by date and/or UPC code number, immediately dispose of the product, and contact the Ready Pac Consumer Affairs Department, toll‐free at (800) 800‐7822, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) to obtain a full refund. Please visit our website at for a copy of the release.

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stop-Start Automotive Technology Gaining in U.S.

Feature is being added to more U.S. cars in 2013 model year

By Mark Huffman,

A technology that saves gasoline by stopping and starting the engine when a vehicle is idle is gaining ground in the U.S.

The stop-start system, a technology that shuts off a vehicle's engine when stopped in traffic, is fairly common in Europe and Japan. Lux Research predicts that more than eight million vehicles in North America will be equipped with engine stop-start systems by 2017.

As the name implies, the system shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at a traffic signal. It springs back to life when the driver touches the accelerator. With each start and stop it saves a few drops of fuel.

Around since the 80s

The technology has been around for a while -- as far back as the 1980s. But while 40 percent of the vehicles in Europe and Japan are equipped with the feature, it hasn't caught on in the U.S. But that's going to change, experts say, as more cars for the U.S. market are being equipped with the technology.

Currently all hybrid cars have stop-start capability but use a different technology than the systems on conventional powertrains. The first non-hybrid stop-start systems in the U.S. market are on 2012 highline vehicles from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, according to AAA.

Jaguar is adding the system for the 2013 model year, as are popularly priced models from Ford and Kia. Even trucks will start to see some systems with Dodge adding stop-start to its V6-powered Ram 1500 pickup for a one mile per gallon fuel economy improvement.

Read the entire article here.

Anchorage, Alaska: Police report on fatal shooting leaves too many questions

Our view: Not good enough

By Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage Police Department reports that the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals has concluded that the fatal police shooting of Harry Smith in July was justified. Case closed?

Not quite.

Too many questions remain about this shooting. APD still hasn't explained exactly what happened. The assistant district attorney who reviewed the police investigation of the shooting says he can't explain what evidence led to his conclusion that it was justified.

Trust us, this man had to die, is not an adequate answer. Especially not in the third case of a fatal shooting by authorities this year.

This is no way for a police department to do business. The police work for the citizens of Anchorage. They are accountable to us. When they employ the power we've given them to use deadly force, they must be able to explain exactly why and how.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Recalls For Thursday, August 9

GE Recalls Dishwashers

A heating element defect poses a fire hazard

Read the entire article here.

Menno Beachy Recalls Grape Tomatoes Because Of Possible Health Risk

Limited Distribution In Minnesota, Wisconsin, And Michigan

Read the entire article here.

Tomales Bay Foods, Inc. Issues A Voluntary Recall of Two Cheeses Because of Possible Health Risk

Tomales Bay Foods, Inc., Petaluma, CA, a cheese distribution company, is recalling all partial wheels of two cheeses distributed by Tomales Bay Foods Inc., due to an abundance of caution because of possible contamination by Listeria.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Scammers Use FTC's Name to Promise Phony Sweepstakes Prizes

"Hi, I'm calling from the Federal Trade Commission to tell you that you have won $250,000…"

By Truman Lewis,

Someone who claims to work for the Federal Trade Commission calls to inform you that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. To receive the prize, all you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance. The caller asks you to wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000.

What should you do? Whatever you do, don't send any money or provide any account information.

The FTC is the nation's consumer protection agency. It investigates fraud and provides free information, but it never collects money directly from consumers. FTC employees don't have any involvement with this sweepstakes scam, and they want you to avoid it.

The caller might suggest that the FTC is supervising the giveaway. He or she might even use the name of a real FTC employee. Your Caller ID might display the Federal Trade Commission's name or a Washington, DC area code. Don't be surprised if you receive repeated calls and follow-up faxes.

No matter how convincing the impersonation, never send money to claim a prize. No FTC employee will ever call to ask you to send money. Legitimate sweepstakes companies won't either. Nevertheless, many consumers and their families have sent money and lost it before realizing and reporting that they were scammed.

Taking a few precautions can help you minimize your risk of falling for the lure of sweepstakes scams:

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Things to Think About Before Using Mobile Banking

Security flaws in banking apps are not the only problem

By Mark Huffman,

Banks are increasingly urging customers to use mobile banking, to enjoy the convenience of accessing their accounts with their smartphones. But before jumping on the mobile banking bandwagon, there are dangers to consider.

"Trade securities, transfer funds between eligible accounts and get a single view of your Bank of America banking plus Merrill Edge investment accounts in one place," Bank of America says on its website. "You can also access a full range of investment products, analysis and market insights."

Bank of America and other financial institutions do provide security features and advanced encryption technology, which is good. But is it enough to provide protection against identity theft and other financial crimes? A number of researchers, including Paul O'Farrell of the Identity Theft Council, have warned some mobile banking apps have security flaws.

We've seen how hackers have generally been able to compromise PCs. Smartphones usually have less security than computers, though there are many new mobile security products coming to market. But what if you lose your smartphone?

Read the entire article here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Heat Waves, Not Hurricanes, May Be Most Dangerous Weather

Elderly, people who live alone should take special care

By Mark Huffman,

Much of the U.S. remains in the grip of a severe drought brought on by a series of heat waves. While much attention has been focused on the impact this is having on crops and livestock, a medical historian says these heat waves are extremely dangerous for people too.

A hurricane might claim 100 lives as it devastates a coastal area. A tornado may kill a dozen people as it wipes a small town off the map. But a heat wave, says Richard Keller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical history and bioethics, can kill tens of thousands.

Keller is compiling a detailed account of the epic 2003 heat wave that broiled parts of Europe that summer and killed an estimated 70,000 people. Over a three-week period in August that year, a massive high-pressure system parked over Europe, producing the hottest summer weather in more than 500 years and leading to most of those fatalities.

Melted electrical cables

It was so hot electrical cables melted, nuclear reactors could not be cooled, water pumps failed and museum specimens liquefied, Keller says.

Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the worst hurricane in recent memory when it devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. The death toll was 1,836.

The European heat wave of 2003, meanwhile, took a deadly toll in France, when temperatures surpassed 100 degrees Fahrenheit on seven days.

“Measured by mortality, it was the worst natural disaster in contemporary France," said Keller.

Read the entire article here.

Additional 218 Counties Designated As Primary Natural Disaster Areas

More than half of all U.S. counties have been named disaster areas

By James Limbach,

There's no letup in the drought gripping much of the nation.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signed disaster designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

Counties designated today are in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming. More than half (50.3 percent) of all counties in the United States have been designated disaster areas by USDA in 2012, mainly due to drought.

"The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands,” said Vilsack. “Responding to my request, crop insurance companies indicated that producers can forgo interest penalties to help our nation's farm families struggling with cash flow challenges."

Read the entire article here.

Kenmore Dehumidifiers Recalled

A fire hazard with the products has caused $7 million in damage

By James Limbach,

Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, of Hoffman Estates, IL, are recalling nearly 800,000 Kenmore dehumidifiers.

The dehumidifiers, made BY LG Electronics, of Tianjin, China, can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers. There have been 107 reports of incidents, with more than $7 million in property damage and three reports of smoke inhalation injuries.

The recall involves 35-, 50- and 70-pint dehumidifiers with a Kenmore logo on the front top of the unit, manufactured between 2003 and 2005. The dehumidifiers are made of white plastic and are between 21 and 24 inches tall, about 15 inches wide and about 13.5 inches in depth. They have fan and humidity controls on their top front panels and some models include remote controls. They come with front-loading water buckets. The model number can be found on the right side of the interior of the unit once the bucket has been removed. Recalled units have the following model numbers:

  • 35-pint (2004) - 580.54351400 
  • 50-pint (2003) - 580.53509300 
  • 70-pint (2003) - 580.53701300 
  • 70-pint (2004) - 580.54701400 
  • 70-pint (2005) - 580.54701500  

Read the entire article here.

Jigzone Puzzle For Saturday, August 4

Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, August 03, 2012

Recalls For Friday, August 3

Patio Bistro Sets Sold at Lowe's Stores Recalled

Failure of a support bar to engage properly creates a fall hazard

Read the entire article here.

Toyota Recalling RAV4 and Lexus HS250h Passenger Vehicles

A problem with the rear tire rods could lead to loss of vehicle control and a crash

Read the entire article here.

Frozen Bacon Cheeseburger Patties Recalled

The food nay contain foreign materials -- like gasket pieces

Read the entire article here.

Busch's Fresh Food Market Recalls Deli Products Containing Peeled Whole Yellow Onions

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

Read the entire article here.

Cantaloupe Recall Expanded

Athena variety cantaloupes contain a possible health risk

Read the entire article here.

Amber Alert: Father kidnaps 8-month-old son in Longview

Ismail Hashem does not have custody of his child

By Web reporter, Q13 FOX News Online

Police in Longview issued an Amber Alert after a man took his 8-month-old child without permission late Friday morning.

According to police, Ismail Hashem took his son, Jayce Hasem, from a babysitter in the area of Parkhill Drive. He does not have custody of the child.

Hashem, 23, could be driving a 2005 silver Toyota Highland with Washington license plates 420TUF or a 2012 black Nissan Altima with Oregon plates 434FPV. The Nissan Altima is a rental car.

Hashem is about 5-feet 9-inches tall and 140 pounds. He was last seen in a black hooded sweatshirt. Hashem also goes by Soma Hashem.

Jayce was wearing only a diaper.

Hashem has ties to Texas and Egypt, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Longview Police at 360-442-5929.

Read the entire article here.

Alaska - Permanent Fund dividend checks likely to shrink again

High-earning 2007 is cut from five-year average; recession influence continues.

By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

Alaskans could see a smaller Permanent Fund dividend this fall.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. on Thursday said it expects to transfer $605 million to the dividend division for checks -- down from $801 million last year and the lowest transfer since fiscal year 2005.

The amount of investment earnings allocated to dividends is based on a five-year rolling average of Permanent Fund performance. Dropping from the average this year is 2007, a recent high-water mark in which the fund earned $3.4 billion in statutory net income, realized gains used in calculating the dividend. Staying in is 2009, during the recession, when the fund recorded its first net loss in the statutory net income.

The statutory net income earned this past fiscal year was $1.6 billion.

Read the entire article here.

Man chased, killed by troopers wielded bat

By Casey Grove, Anchorage Daily News

Updated, 10:40 a.m.: A man being pursued by Alaska State Troopers on the Glenn Highway was shot and killed after he "advanced on three troopers with a raised bat," the troopers said in a written statement.

The man and the troopers involved have not been identified.

Here's the full statement:

On 8/3/12 at approximately 0401 hours, Alaska State Troopers attempted to stop a 1994 Saturn Coupe at Lucille Street and the Parks Highway. The vehicle was observed failing to signal as it made a right-hand turn onto the Parks Highway from Tommy Moe Road. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit ensued heading southbound on the Parks Highway. Prior to passing the Trunk Road turnoff, spike strips were deployed and managed to deflate a tire. However, the vehicle continued driving southbound onto the Glenn Highway. As the vehicle neared milepost 25, the vehicle caught on fire and stopped in the southbound lane. The driver and sole occupant, a male, exited the vehicle and started running toward the northbound lane. Attempts to subdue the individual, including use of a Taser, were unsuccessful. The man then stopped running and advanced on three troopers with a raised bat. At that time, a trooper fired and shot the man with his duty weapon at approximately 0420. The man was declared deceased on scene. Alaska State Troopers were assisted by officers from the Anchorage and Wasilla police departments to include a WPD canine. No officers or troopers were injured in the incident. The southbound and northbound lanes of the Glenn Highway were closed until the scene could be secured. APD took responsibility for traffic control and began a pilot car system to route vehicles through the two southbound lanes to allow traffic to move in both directions. Traffic was backed up to the interchange of the Glenn and Parks highways. The northbound will remain closed for several hours until the on-scene investigation is complete.

The name of the trooper will be released in 72 hours per department policy. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation responded and assumed case responsibility. Anyone witnessing either the pursuit or incident that has not been already contacted by law enforcement is asked to call ABI in Palmer at (907)745-2131.

Read the entire article here.

Trooper kills suspect after Glenn Hwy. chase

By Casey Grove, Anchorage Daily News

An Alaska state trooper shot and killed a man after a car chase on the Glenn Highway north of Anchorage early this morning, shutting down traffic near the Thunderbird Falls exit, according to Alaska State Troopers.

No law enforcement officers were injured, troopers said.

The pursuit began in Wasilla near Lucille Street and the Parks Highway, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. It ended about 4:20 a.m. at Mile 25 of the Glenn Highway, where a trooper shot at the suspect, she said. Details such as what triggered the chase or shooting, or if the suspect was armed, were not immediately available, Ipsen said.

Read the entire article here.