Of Course Johnson & Johnson Knew About Risks of Asbestos in Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson has long denied that it had any knowledge about harmful ingredients in its talcum powder products. But a recent article in The New York Times reports that the company has known for years that its popular baby powder was potentially contaminated with asbestos. According to the article, the company was warned about the possibility of asbestos contamination in its baby powder by a company executive as early as 1971. The executive recommended to senior company leaders that Johnson & Johnson improve its quality control of talc, a mineral that is the main ingredient in the powder. Asbestos, which has been on the world radar screen for years as a cause of cancer, is often found near talc mines. Two years later, another executive also warned the company about possible asbestos fibers in its talc. Other warnings followed over the years. Instead of removing the product from the market, changing the main ingredient, or at least adding warning labels, senior company leaders instead sought to hide the findings. The deception and denials from the company have gone on for years, to the life-threatening detriment of consumers who use the product. Recent internal documents and memos that came to[…..]

Indian Head Highway Continues to Be a Problem

As many Marylanders know, Indian Head Highway/Route 210 is notorious as one of the state’s most dangerous roadways.  Over the past 11 years, 65 people have lost their lives in horrific crashes there. An illegal drag race that took advantage of the straight highway ended in horror in 2008 when eight people died. Last year, in 2018, five people were killed on the highway, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. Among the tragic fatalities were three young children from the same family who died just weeks ago on December 30 when the car they were riding in was rear-ended. The investigation into that accident is ongoing. Increased Law Enforcement There has been a larger police presence on the highway, handing out tickets for speeding and other dangerous driving violations in recent years. But in spite of increased law enforcement, the number of accidents has not changed significantly, the data shows.  In 2016, there were 336 crashes; in 2017 there were 329; and last year there were 354. Nevertheless, local police and lawmakers are vowing to add even more police to the route this year. A speed camera was put in place on the highway[…..]

What Do Airbnb Deaths Say About Safety and Accountability?

Kitchen

Many people book rooms in private homes or entire properties using the Airbnb website, or similar online rental sites, as an often more convenient or affordable option to staying in traditional hotels. But who should be held accountable if a person is injured or killed because of unsafe conditions or even violence at an Airbnb property? Several recent deaths of travelers have put the spotlight on culpability when things go wrong at Airbnb and other such lodgings. USA Today reported the cases of a woman who was murdered in Costa Rica and a couple and family of four who died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in rentals in Mexico. While a hotel is typically liable if people are injured on the property because of unsafe conditions, in this relatively new private-home rental environment, liability is not so clear and might be shared among the property owner and Airbnb. Liability becomes even murkier if, for example, someone leases a home and rents out rooms to travelers and a traveler is injured. The actual property owner may say that they were not aware that the person leasing their property was using it as an Airbnb; and perhaps they were not, but they[…..]

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

A 2018 survey in Maryland shows that the state has a serious problem when it comes to drivers’ ignoring school bus safety rules. A significant number of drivers disregard the law that requires them to stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and stop-arms out to indicate children are getting on or off. The survey was conducted this past spring with participation from over 80 percent of the state’s bus drivers from 24 school systems. In total, the drivers counted 3,812 violations of red flashing light and stop-arm rules in a single day. Baltimore City had 64 violations, which is down from last year when there were 152. Among counties, the violation leader was Montgomery, with 1,038 recorded. Baltimore County was second. Bus drivers in the county recorded 688 violations. Violations for other nearby counties included 385 in Anne Arundel and 97 for Carroll, which were both lower than last year’s numbers. However, in both Harford and Howard counties violations were higher than last year—they counted 196 and 290 respectively. While the number of violations rose in some areas in 2018, statewide school bus violations were much lower than in 2011, the year the survey was first[…..]

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? Here’s a Checklist.

With winter come rain, sleet, ice, snow, slush, and just plain old cold and dangerous driving weather. Seventeen percent of crashes nationwide occur in winter weather conditions, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. While you probably won’t step outside when temperatures begin to drop without first donning appropriate cold-weather clothing, is your car, truck or other vehicle also safely prepared for the upcoming chill? If it isn’t, you still have time to get it done. Winterizing your vehicle will help keep it operating safely throughout the season and keep you from possibly being stranded in plummeting temperatures or, even worse, injured in an accident. In addition to avoiding potential mechanical problems by staying on top of tune-ups and maintenance all year long, here are steps to take to get your vehicle ready for winter: Ensure that tires are inflated to correct psi levels for your vehicle. Your owner’s manual can advise you as to the correct level. As temperatures get colder, tires lose air, and tires that are not adequately inflated can affect maneuverability. Check tire tread for wear. Balding tires lose traction and are dangerous on icy and snow-covered streets. Do the penny test—with Lincoln’s head pointing[…..]

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

If You Own a Kia or Hyundai, Read This

Certain Kias and Hyundais from model years 2011 through 2014 are vulnerable to spontaneous fires. Vehicles affected include the Kia Sorento SUV and Kia Optima sedan, as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV and Hyundai Sonata sedan. While the fires have not been associated with any crashes, it’s estimated that six persons have suffered injuries from the fires. Petition Submitted to NHTSA The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) has petitioned Deputy Administrator Heidi King of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because of the fires. The petition, submitted June 11, 2018, noted that the NHTSA has on file 120 complaints of fires where no crash occurred, as well as 229 filed complaints that mention melted wires, smoke, and odors indicating something was burning. When the number of Hyundai and Kia reports was compared with other competing makes and models, the CAS discovered only 22 reports on file that mentioned fires without collisions for all other competing vehicles. The Hyundai Sonata had the most complaints at 47, with 10 for the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Sixty-three fires were reported to the NHTSA for the two Kia models. Dangerous Fires The CAS petition mentioned several fires, including the following ones:[…..]

New Focus for Talcum Powder Cases

Talcum Powder

Two recent court cases involving Johnson & Johnson’s (J & J) baby powder have resulted in the awarding of damages to plaintiffs suffering from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that generally affects certain cells lining the lungs and abdomen. The cancer is often caused by asbestos exposure and rarely appears without cause. During May 2018, jurors in California state court awarded a 68-year-old woman compensatory damages of $21.7 million for asbestos-related mesothelioma that she claims resulted from extremely heavy usage (two bottles a month) of J & J’s powder over decades. Earlier, in April 2018, New Jersey jurors in the company’s corporate hometown of New Brunswick found J & J liable for $117 million in damages. A 56-year-old man claimed that his asbestos-related mesothelioma was due to daily usage of the company’s talcum powder products since his birth in 1972. These two cases are game-changers when it comes to the dangers of talcum powder and cancer risk. Previous cases have focused on ovarian cancer and have not involved claims of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powders. What is Mesothelioma? The cancer known as mesothelioma usually results from workplace exposure to asbestos that occurs over many years. The most[…..]

What Are the Odds?

R.I.P

When something unusual occurs, we may wonder out loud, “What are the odds?” As it turns out, when it comes to how people die, we can determine what the odds are of certain types of death for an entire population. We don’t mean to be morbid, but the truth is, everyone dies eventually. Perhaps you’re afraid of dying in an airplane crash or from a terrorist attack, or maybe because of a lightning strike. According to the CDC, about 2.6 million people died during 2014 in the U.S. That’s about 824 persons per 100,000 in the population. Remember that these odds are enormous generalizations across all ages and health conditions. For example, you do not necessarily have high odds of dying from cancer if you don’t have certain genetic or lifestyle risk factors—or if you die young from an accident. (Most cancers happen to us when we live a long time.) What We Aren’t Worrying About There are many causes of death, and some of them don’t worry us as much as they probably should. What kills a large number of us is disease and addiction. Judging from the way some of us treat our bodies, we probably aren’t worried[…..]

Still Hurting After the Accident? It Could Be a Herniated Disc

Herniated Disc Crash

After a car crash, are you still suffering from back pain that is not getting better? You’ve received medical attention and do not have any fractures, but the doctor did say you might have a herniated disc. Further testing was recommended to determine the cause of your pain. All types of back and neck injuries are common after motor vehicle collisions. While an injury might appear to be minor at first, as the hurt grows and other symptoms set in, you realize you need help to stop the numbness, the muscle weakness, and, of course, the pain. A study done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine indicates that, after a car crash, more than 70 percent of those who sought emergency treatment were still suffering from pain. Not all of the pain reported was from a back injury, but a review of the hospital records for 948 patients determined that, six weeks following a motor vehicle accident, the most common injury for those admitted to the hospital was neck and back pain. What is a Herniated Disc? The sudden, strong forces exerted on your spine during a crash can injure the cushions between the bony vertebrae; these[…..]

Look Out for Unsafe Lane Changers

Truck Accident Lawyer

Reckless lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. While the danger is usually greater when a heavier commercial vehicle is part of the mix, the reality is that abrupt lane changes by any vehicle can be responsible for injuries and fatalities. Changing lanes unsafely, whether due to weaving and other aggressive acts or drifting caused by distraction, involves vehicles of all types and sizes. Two recent local examples in the Baltimore-Washington area were: According to Maryland State Police, on March 24, 2018, an Inner Beltway crash killed a man. Improper lane changing and failing to yield the right of way were the charges. Also in March, 2018, an unsafe lane change by a tractor-trailer caused an 18-vehicle collision that resulted in injuries to four people, two with life-threatening injuries. All four southbound lanes were shut down during rush hour for more than two hours. The large white semi that caused the crash sped away unharmed. The Numbers Unsafe lane changes cause a lot of crashes on our roads. Not staying in the proper lane causes about 11 percent of all passenger motor vehicle crashes. But when a tractor-trailer is packing more than 80,000 pounds, the chances of[…..]