Companies that Distributed Defective Go-Karts and Minibikes that Injured Consumers Settle with the CPSC for a Record Sum

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reached a record $4.3 million settlement with two companies accused of allegedly failing to immediately notify the agency that their minibikes and go-karts were prone to defects that left at least four riders with serious burns.

Baja Inc. and One World Technologies Inc. had received several reports of injuries and had already implemented design changes when Baja informed the CPSC about two defects in some of its minibikes and go-karts, including one defect that caused the gas cap on 308,000 of its minibikes and go-karts to leak or detach, putting consumers at risk for burns. The affected minibikes and go-karts were distributed nationwide from 2004 until 2010. Baja had also received about two dozen reports of another defect on the vehicles that caused the throttle to stick, posing a sudden acceleration risk, when the company notified the CPSC, according to a statement released by the CPSC on Tuesday and viewed by Law360.com. Continue reading Companies that Distributed Defective Go-Karts and Minibikes that Injured Consumers Settle with the CPSC for a Record Sum

Experts: Wearing Counterfeit Decorative Contact Lenses can Cost you your Eyesight

With Halloween approaching, federal officials are warning parents and consumers not to wear decorative counterfeit contact lenses, which can cause infections and serious eye injuries.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are currently working to seize illegally imported, decorative contact lenses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The effort, “Operation Double Vision”, is being coordinated with the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Washington. Seventy-four seizures have resulted in more than 20,000 pairs of the lenses being detained this year, according to KATV.com. Continue reading Experts: Wearing Counterfeit Decorative Contact Lenses can Cost you your Eyesight

Guardrail Maker to Pay up to $1 Billion for Defrauding the Federal Government

A jury found on Tuesday that Trinity Industries, Inc. defrauded the U.S. by deliberately withholding information about cost-saving changes to its ET-Plus highway guardrail system, possibly making it more dangerous.

Jurors in Marshall, Texas found that the company cheated the government of more than $175 million after only 3-1/2 hours of deliberation. Trinity is the maker of a 175-pound steel mechanism, the ET-Plus that mounts onto the end of a guardrail. The company tried to pass off a secretly revised version of the product that locks up instead of acting as a shock absorber, and wrongly passed it off as eligible for federal funding, according to Bloomberg News. Continue reading Guardrail Maker to Pay up to $1 Billion for Defrauding the Federal Government

NHTSA Urges 7.8 Million Vehicles Owners to Act on Takata Air Bag Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notified the owners of 7.8 million vehicles urging them to act on the Takata air bags recalls which were issued because the air bags can explode. According to TIME Magazine, the recalls date as far 18 months ago and continued as recently as this week. The recalls included Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles.

“Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman in the release. Continue reading NHTSA Urges 7.8 Million Vehicles Owners to Act on Takata Air Bag Recall

Toyota Announces a Recall of 1.67 Million Cars Deemed too Dangerous to Drive Until they are Repaired

Toyota Motor Co. announced on October 15 that it would recall 1.67 million vehicles worldwide due to three defects that make the vehicles unsafe to drive until they are fixed.

About 750,000 of the affected vehicles globally have problems with their fuel delivery pipes and 802,000 have brake issues. Another 190,000 Corolla Rumion and Auris models in Japan will be recalled because of faulty emission control components. Plating used to prevent corrosion is responsible for the fuel delivery pipe problems. The plating, which is produced with particles on its seating surface where the fuel pressure sensor is, can cause the gasket between the pressure sensor and the pipe to not seal effectively, resulting in fluid fuel leaking past the gasket while the vehicle is running, according to Law360.com. Continue reading Toyota Announces a Recall of 1.67 Million Cars Deemed too Dangerous to Drive Until they are Repaired

Lawmakers say E-Cigarette Makers Should Put Stronger Warnings on Their Products

Six lawmakers are turning up the heat on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make e-cigarette makers put stronger warning labels on their products.

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg Thursday to request that she finalize proposed rules that would allow the agency to increase the nation’s health watchdog to regulate all nicotine products. Some e-cigarette makers have been putting their own watered-down warnings on the nicotine delivery systems, thanks to a lack of federal regulations, according to TheHill.com. Continue reading Lawmakers say E-Cigarette Makers Should Put Stronger Warnings on Their Products

Scientists Find Link Between Sugary Sodas and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most consumers known that sugary sodas make you gain weight and can lead to diabetes, but now scientists say the beverages can literally make us hurt all over.

According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who drink one or more sodas a day are significantly more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than women who drink one soda a month or less, and that risk increases with age. RA is believed to be caused by genetics and environmental factors, including diet. The systemic, autoimmune disease causes inflammation that leaves patients with joint pain and damage, and fatigue, ArthritisToday.org reported. Continue reading Scientists Find Link Between Sugary Sodas and Rheumatoid Arthritis

FCC Announces Largest “Cramming” Settlement in U.S. History

AT&T has agreed to pay $105 million to settle allegations the company issued its customers unauthorized cell phone charges – a practice known as “cramming” – the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Wednesday.

The FTC will receive $80 million, which it will use to refund customers. State governments participating in the settlement will also receive $20 million, and the telecommunications company will pay a $5 million penalty payment to the U.S. Treasury. According to the FTC, AT&T customers were issued bogus charges for monthly subscriptions for ringtones, cell phone wallpapers, text messages with horoscopes, flirting tips, celebrity gossip and other products. The majority of the charges were for $9.99 per month, but some were as pricey as $60 per month, PCMag.com reported. The Huffington Post wrote that “for companies whose billing was handled by AT&T, as many as 40 percent of subscribers complained about the unauthorized charges.” Continue reading FCC Announces Largest “Cramming” Settlement in U.S. History

Decorative Contact Lenses can Lead to Serious Eye Injuries and Even Blindness

Halloween is approaching and for many consumers, decorative contact lenses can seem like a creative way to make a costume even more striking, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned yesterday that the colorful contacts can cause health problems that make pink eye sound pleasant.

The FDA said decorative contact lenses can scratch the cornea and damage consumers’ vision. The lenses, which are very popular this time of year, are sold as if they were cosmetics, fashion accessories and toys. The names and attractive packaging make the products especially attractive to teens and young people, but the agency said the phrase “one size fits all” is deceptive, according to the Laredo Sun. Continue reading Decorative Contact Lenses can Lead to Serious Eye Injuries and Even Blindness

FCC Fines Marriott for Blocking Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots at Nashville Resort

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Marriott International Inc. $600,000 for forcing hotel customers to pay for the hotel’s Internet service by blocking them from connecting to personal Wi-Fi networks.

Customers’ mobile “hotspots” were blocked by employees at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and charged consumers, small businesses and exhibitors up to $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network, according to an FCC statement obtained released on Friday. “Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal Internet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in the statement, obtained by Bloomberg News. Continue reading FCC Fines Marriott for Blocking Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots at Nashville Resort