When I think of prank calls, I conjure up images of teenage girls huddled around their clear plastic phones, calling boys in their class and hanging up. You know, harmless fun. But sometimes prank calls can turn into something bigger, and even potentially dangerous: three McDonald’s restaurants in Oregon shut down over the weekend after a caller convinced employees to activate fire suppression systems, spewing chemicals over kitchen appliances. [More]
Multiple McDonald’s Locations Forced To Close After Prank Callers Convince Workers To Test Fire System
There’s nothing quite like taking a big sip of a nice cold drink when you’re thirsty — unless that beverage is filled with chemical cleaners used to degrease restaurant deep fryers. Officials say a 67-year-old woman burned her mouth when she drank from a cup of sweet tea at a restaurant that was laced with lye. [More]
There are a number of federal protections to keep unsafe chemicals out of our favorite foods. But more often than not, those protections fail consumers. A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council explores one of those failures: Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) designation. [More]
All the talk about “pink slime” had us wondering, “What other weird things have we been eating?!” While the answers provided by the foodies at Consumer Reports often didn’t come with illustrative names such as pink slime, it did leave us a better bit informed — and a lot less hungry! [More]
Concerned about chemicals in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, consumer activists are calling for a boycott of the product. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which claims to encompass 3.5 million people in 25 groups around the world, says the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium and suspected carcinogen dioxane, which are found in the shampoo, could pose a danger to children. The group says some versions of the product in other countries don’t contain quaternium, and that there’s no reason those in the United States need to have the chemical. [More]
The Environmental Working Group has a theory to explain why bisphenol-A, the controversial chemical that’s sometimes found in plastic bottles and can linings, shows up in the urine of over 90% of the population: it’s on paper receipts. The group found BPA on 40% of receipts collected from the sorts of businesses you visit every week, with the concentration topping 1000 times that of a can lining in some cases. [More]
Thirty years ago, the FDA considered regulating two toxic chemicals that can damage reproductive organs, sperm quality, and hormone production. Rather than do something, the agency instead did nothing. Last week, the National Resources Defense Council sued the agency, asking them to finally finish the job and regulate the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. [More]
“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said to the Associated Press. To address that, the agency has told tobacco companies to provide a list of the ingredients in their cigarette brands by June 2010. The FDA says it won’t publicize a lot of the data in order to protect trade secrets, but that by June 2011 it will publish a list of “harmful and potentially harmful” ingredients, at which point tobacco companies will have to start listing the amounts of each one on their products. [More]
Atrazine—a widely-used herbicide—is one of those chemicals for which there is no evidence it will kill you or give you cancer or make your eyes fall out. It’s true that it’s been linked to egg production in male frogs, but I think we can all agree that frogs pretty much want to mutate and will apparently do so at the slightest chemical nudge. The question for Americans is, should the EPA have notified affected citizens in the four states where atrazine has exceeded federal safety limits? Because it didn’t.
As studies continue to link bisphenol-A (BPA) with all sorts of health problems, states and cities are banning the chemical from baby bottles and sippy cups and Congress is considering a ban in all food containers. This worries industry groups, who last week held a private meeting to devise strategy to protect the use of BPA. Someone sent the notes to the Washington Post.
Find the hidden ingredients lurking in your personal-care products. Think the “Ingredients” section of a product’s label tells you all you need to know? Not so fast. ShopSmart points out that certain chemicals that are considered byproducts of other ingredients may not show up on the label. These include possible carcinogens, such as formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. Yum. [ShopSmart]
It’s Memorial Day weekend, the weather is looking nice, and people are leaving work early to hit the pool, fire up the grill, play golf, or enjoy our national pastime. We’re doing none of those things, so we thought we’d ruin it for everyone else.
Minnesota has enacted the “Toxic Free Kids Act,” which will ban bisphenol-A (BPA) in sippy cups and baby bottles. Minnesota joins Suffolk County, New York, which banned BPA earlier this year. Other states and counties, as well as the federal government, are considering bans on the potentially dangerous chemical, which has been linked to all sorts of adverse health effects. The Minnesota ban goes into effect in 2011. (Photo: tiffanywashko)
We don’t blame the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA)—
a pesticide an agribusiness trade group—for promoting its interests, but we still think it’s funny that they’ve asked the first family to not grow organic vegetables in the White House vegetable garden. MACA’s Executive Director Bonnie McCarvel sent a long letter to Michelle Obama reminding her of the importance of technology in modern farming, then publicized the letter via an email where she noted, “While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder.”
More than half of the baby products recently tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics were found to contain trace levels of formaldehyde and dioxane. Though the study didn’t accuse Johnson & Johnson of dumping barrels of the potential carcinogens directly into their baby products, the dangerous chemicals can form during the manufacturing process as other ingredients break down. The full list of 48 tested baby shampoos, lotions, soaps, and wipes—including some well-known products you probably have on your shelf—inside.