BMW Issues 1.6 Million Car Recall of 3-Series Cars

BMW has issued an even wider recall of its most popular cars in the 3-Series. The German automaker plans to recall 1.6 million 3-Series cars that are from model years 2000 to 2006 around the globe, including 574,000 in the United States.

BMW has stated that this is only a precaution in response to problems other automakers have experienced recently with similar systems. Airbag inflators in systems made by the Takata Corporation, a supplier of seat belts, airbags, steering wheels, and other auto parts, based in Japan, have been found to rupture. When this happens, the airbags may not function properly. Broken shards also could fly out with the deployed airbag and injure passengers.

Thus far, BMW has not received any confirmed reports of problems with their airbag systems, but the company plans to issue all replacements regardless. Dealers will replace the front passenger-side airbags. The new recall does not include 42,000 BMW models recalled in May 2013 for the same problem, as it should have already been fixed.

Warm, Humid Weather Seems to Exacerbate Airbag Problem

One thing most of these recent airbag problems seem to share is that the affected cars have been in climates that expose the vehicles to hot, humid weather over an extended period of time.

In June, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating air bags made by Takata. The agency has since received six reports of air bags rupturing in Florida and Puerto Rico, but more may be reported as the investigation continues. So far, there have only been three reported injuries. Approximately 1.1 million vehicles in the United States could be affected, and this total is likely to climb during the NHTSA investigation.

This airbag problem has previously triggered millions of recalls by manufacturers including Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota. Since most of the problems have affected cars in states with hot and humid weather, the government wants to work more quickly in places with warmer weather while investigations continue. BMW will replace airbags in all vehicles equipped with potentially faulty air bag systems regardless of where they were sold. Customers living in warmer climates should still be aware that they might be more susceptible to related problems.

The NHTSA has issued a statement stating that they support “efforts by automakers to address the immediate risk in areas that have consistently hot, humid conditions over extended periods of time,” but that the data is still limited. There may be fewer problems than originally predicted. Still, it is important for all owners of affected models go to their dealers to get the potential problem taken care of as quickly as possible.

Source:
http://www.suntimes.com/business/28692290-420/bmw-recalls-16m-3-series-cars-for-air-bag-problem.html – .U8_vIUiaTLh

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Documents Prove the GM Did Not Speak Up Over Fatal Crashes

Federal regulators have recently expressed interest in the car crash that killed Gene Erickson, asking why the man’s Saturn Ion veered off the road into a tree along a rural road in Texas. The air bags did not deploy, and when questioned about the vehicle, General Motors did not have an answer.

An internal evaluation conducted by a GM engineer concluded that the Ion most likely lost power, which subsequently disabled the vehicle’s airbags. However, GM’s response to this speculation, as well as its replies to concerns regarding other car accidents, casts doubt on whether the auto maker was forthcoming with regulators over the faulty ignition switch. GM has linked the defect to at least 13 fatalities in the last 10 years.

Details are surfacing for the first time in a criminal investigation launched by the U.S. Justice Department. According to reports, GM is facing concerns that it knowingly withheld information about the defect in its interaction with safety regulators.

The New York Times asserts that GM repeatedly avoided the simple question of what caused the car accidents. In at least three fatal crashes, including that of Mr. Erickson, the automaker claimed that it had not yet determined the cause of the incident. In another case, GM cited attorney-client privilege that prevented it from answering questions. Still, in other instances, GM simply stated that it “opts not to respond.”

These responses are found in “death inquiries,” documents that are obtainable to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. In the documents, regulators request that car manufacturers explain the causes of accidents to help determine whether specific vehicles were built with faulty or defective parts.

On July 17, 2014, the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, and other GM executives faced Congress to testify regarding the alleged cover-up of the automaker’s ignition-switch defect. The New York Times issued a report on July 16, 2014 on internal documents related to the fatal car accidents that were believed to have been caused by faulty ignition switches.

In 2004, Candice Anderson was driving the Saturn Ion in which Mr. Erickson was a front-seat passenger. The car suddenly swerved off the road, sparing Ms. Anderson but killing Mr. Erickson. It was not until recently that Ms. Anderson learned that she was not to blame. She had reportedly had a trace of Xanax in her system, which is believed to have been the cause for her guilty plea of criminally negligent homicide following the accident.

Despite GM’s engineer concluding that the engine shutting off was most likely the cause for the accident, the automaker reported that there might not have been enough information to accurately determine the reason for the crash. At the time, the company was facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Erickson’s surviving family, and GM claimed that it could not make disclosures due to attorney-client privilege.

The documents indicate that GM officials knew that the fatalities related to failed airbag deployment were due to a loss of power within the vehicle, but the manufacturer allegedly kept quiet. A fatal December 2009 crash in Tennessee took the life of another individual, and again, GM stated that any privileged material pertaining to the reason for the accident would not be publicly shared.

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/business/documents-show-general-motors-kept-silent-on-fatal-crashes.html?_r=1

 

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Tattoo Ink and Needles Recalled

As tattoos become increasingly common in the United States, their safety demands thorough attention and review. In addition to an illness as is suspected in one case involving California-based White & Blue Lion, Inc., tattoos performed with defective or dangerous needles or inks can potentially lead to scarring, infection, allergies, MRI complications, and granulomas. While there is always a risk of contracting a disease or suffering from side effects while undergoing a tattoo procedure at either a home or licensed tattoo business, experiencing complications following a “tattoo party” at an individual’s residence is often more common.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on July 14, 2014 that multiple lots of tattoo needles and inks sold by a company over the Internet have been pulled from the market due to potential bacterial contamination. White & Blue Lion issued the voluntary recall for all of the company’s tattoo kits, inks, and needles. The products are sold separately by White & Blue Lion and 8Decades through Amazon.com.

FDA officials warned that the recalled inks and needles may cause a bacterial infection that can ultimately lead to sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection. Laboratory testing conducted by the FDA determined that microbial bacterial contamination was present in both the needles and the inks, according to agency officials. This data suggests that Mycobacterium can be ruled out as one of the contaminants. There has been at least one confirmed illness connected with the products as of July 11, 2014.

In Dayton, Ohio at Cloak and Dagger Tattoo Studio, tattoo artist Jeremy McGrady said that White & Blue Lion is not a major supplier of tattoo needles and ink to the industry. McGrady also stated that he had never heard of the company, acknowledging that he is familiar with most of the larger manufacturers. McGrady suspects that the only people who would be impacted by the voluntary recall are those who are making the decision to perform or receive tattoos from homes rather than licensed tattoo parlors.

Similarly, River City Tattoo Company in Iowa was questioned about the recall and stated that it does not use tools or products manufactured by White & Blue Lion, asserting that the needles and inks in the shop are always highly certified. According to Keegan Rocha, the shop manager, the business takes pride in its work and considers itself professional.

The products involved in the July 2014 recall by White & Blue Lion include a multi-colored Chinese Dragon Image tattoo kit with black and white lettering with Lot No. OR20036, Batch #8, in a 5-milliliter bottle. The tattoo needles affected by the recall are sold in packages of five and they bear the label “CE0197 Pre-made tattoo needle.”

As an added precaution, the company is also pulling its ink cups and tubes from the market. The full recall is being made with FDA knowledge. Consumers are urged to contact White & Blue Lion for more information, according to FDA officials.

Sources:
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm404787.htm
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/breaking-news/contaminated-tattoo-ink-needles-recalled/ngfTD/
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls/white-blue-lion-updates-recall-of-tattoo-ink-needles-and-kits-071714.html
http://kimt.com/2014/07/16/tattoo-ink-recall/

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Retailers May Have Received Recalled Chicken

After months of public calls for Foster Farms chicken to be recalled due to the potential for multiple Salmonella outbreaks, the company announced on July 3, 2014 that it was issuing a voluntary recall for an undetermined number of chicken products produced on three specific dates in March 2014.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested that Foster Farms conduct the recall because the product has allegedly been linked to a specific illness of Salmonella over the past several months. The products subject to the recall include the numbers “P7632,” “P6137A,” and “P6137” that can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken was produced from March 7 through March 13, 2014.

The products that are being removed from the market include both fresh and frozen chicken sold by private label brands or merchants under Foster Farms, with varying “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 16 through March 31, 2014 and August 29, 2014 through September 2, 2014. Additionally, frozen Sunland Chicken products with “best by” dates from March 7 through March 11, 2014 and August 29, 2014 through September 2, 2014 are being removed from the market. Consumers will only be able to determine the dates by checking their fresh product retail packaging.

Until now, there has been no evidence that a human illness was caused due to a specific batch of chicken, despite the fact that the latest Foster Farms outbreak has been ongoing since March 2013. In fact, up until this recall, Foster Farms had reportedly refused to remove any of its products from the market, and officials for the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not have any power to enforce a recall, as they could not trace a condition or illness back to a specific lot of chicken.

The recalled products were shipped to Safeway, Kroger, Foodmaxx, Costco, and other distribution centers and retail stores in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, California, and Arizona. While it is unlikely that any of the chicken is still in circulation, people may still have some of it frozen in their freezers. The company is recommending that consumers check their packages of Foster Farms chicken for the recalled establishment number.

The Foster Farms recall comes on the heels of Food Safety news’ announcement that the most recent outbreak of Salmonella has resulted in 212 hospitalizations out of 600 official cases, the newest of which were reported by the California Department of Public Health. California, the state in which Foster Farms is headquartered, has now seen 468 of the cases, the most out of any state.

In July 2013, chicken produced by Foster Farms was reportedly linked to another Salmonella outbreak that caused at least 33 hospitalizations and sickened 134 people in 13 states. Food safety attorneys contend that the company is doing the right thing for the sake of food safety and the health of consumers throughout the U.S. Consumers are urged to consult the USDA’s website for a full list of recalled products.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-02-13/index.html
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/75867fb6-a1a9-46d0-8926-74291cff58e2/Foster-Farms-recalled-products.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

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Phoenix Dog Bite Attack Update: Final Hearing Set

A case that sparked anger across the Internet, divided Phoenix, Az. residents and renewed scrutiny of pit bulls ended when “Mickey” the dog was sentenced to life behind bars at the Maricopa County Jail’s no-kill animal shelter.

The dog had been in the custody of Maricopa County since February, when 4-year-old Kevin Vicente walked from his babysitter’s home into a neighbor’s yard and attempted to take a bone from the dog’s mouth. The dog responded by attacking the boy, leaving the child with a broken jaw and eye socket.

Dr. Jeffrey Salamone of Maricopa Medical Center told news reporters that a large amount of the child’s face had been ripped from forehead to jaw.

The injuries will require a number of extensive surgeries to repair the damage.

Although experts said that both the child and the dog were both doing what they naturally do, Mickey was sent to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control until a hearing could be held on whether the dog should be euthanized.

Animal rights activists were outraged, placing blame for the attack on an inattentive babysitter as well as the owner for keeping the dog chained up. The case took on a life of its own on social media, with a petition to save the dog drawing over 67,000 signatures and spawning a Facebook page devoted to sparing Mickey’s life.

Municipal Court Judge Deborah Griffith said that several people shared responsibility for the incident, pointing out that there was a “Beware of Dog” sign on the fence but the gate was open and children were allowed to play around the dog.

The boy’s mother was puzzled by the concern over Mickey’s fate.

“It disturbed me at first that they placed more value on an animal than on a child, and that made me feel very bad,” Vicente told The Arizona Republic through a Spanish interpreter. “If they don’t care about (Kevin), well, I do.”

In March, the judge chose not to euthanize Mickey, but declared him vicious and ruled the dog must be neutered, defanged, microchipped and never adopted out.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio then offered to place Mickey at his no-kill shelter located in the First Avenue Jail and agreed that no taxpayer money would be used to train inmates on how to handle the dog.

References:
http://www.azfamily.com/news/Final-hearing-set-for-dog-that-mauled-child-256104171.html

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