This week in safety: Power on (safely), dude

Consumer Reports News: April 24, 2009 05:23 PM

Suddenly it's sunnier and homeowners with their power tools are sprouting almost as fast as their lawns and gardens. Also growing are the number of trips to the emergency room for injuries caused by power tools and equipment. The numbers are sobering. In 2007, hospital emergency rooms treated 78,773 people for mower injuries; 26,669 for chain saw injuries; 19,928 for injuries from trimmers and small garden tools and 1,594 for injuries from tillers and cultivators.

In its monthly newsletter, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has some safety tips for power tool users including these three:

  1. Never let young children operate power equipment;
  2. Use eye, hand and foot protection;
  3. Use caution when refueling and keep fuel in child-resistant containers.

More safety news ...
Kansas governor vetoes milk labeling bill

Consumers Union
In a victory for local dairy farmers and consumers, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a controversial bill that would have limited rbGH labeling on dairy products in Kansas. Read more ...

Even low lead levels may be harmful to children
Reuters via MSNBC
Even low levels of lead found in the blood during early childhood can adversely affect how a child's cardiovascular system responds to stress and could possibly lead to high blood pressure later in life, new research hints. Read more ...

Delays in product recalls tempt tragedy
The Los Angeles Times
Mega Brands agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million last week in connection with a defective toy that caused the death of a toddler. Mega Brands didn't actually own the company that made the toy until after the toddler was killed. The case highlights the difficulty that companies and consumers face in obtaining accurate and up-to-date safety data from federal regulators. Read more ...

Toy safety database off schedule
SuperEco.com
You can check to see if your peanut butter is tainted by salmonella. But if you're trying desperately to find out if that Hello Kitty necklace is contaminated by lead you'll have to wait. Read more ...

Consumers left to sweep up as Martha Stewart tables shatter
Consumer Affairs.com
As winter turns to spring, consumers across the country are once again waking up to the sounds of their Martha Stewart Everyday glass tabletops exploding into thousands of tiny pieces. The tables, sold at Kmart, have a long history of spontaneously shattering, not that anyone in authority seems to care. Read more ...

Consumers warned of drywall repair scams
The Miami Herald
As dozens of South Florida homeowners grapple with worries about potential health problems and appliance corrosion caused by the drywall lining their homes, scam artists have found a way to capitalize on the situation. Read more ...

Child obesity is linked to chemicals in plastics
The New York Times
Exposure to chemicals used in plastics (phthalates) may be linked with childhood obesity, according to results from a long-term health study on girls who live in East Harlem and surrounding communities, say  researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Read more ...

Fuel from cooking oil is starting backyard fires
Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Trying to live green and beat high gasoline prices, some enterprising Americans are turning cooking oil into biodiesel in their garages. Problem is, some of these do-it-yourselfers are burning down the house. Read more ...

Former congressman Bill Orton dies in ATV accident
The Salt Lake Tribune
Former Utah Congressman Bill Orton was killed Saturday afternoon in a four-wheeler accident in the Little Sahara Sand Dunes. He was 60 years old. Orton was riding on a mountain-type ATV when he went off a "very steep" dune about and crashed his four-wheeler. Read more ...

Safety news from the CR Blogs

BathrobeRecall Don't miss these tecalls
After getting three reports of bathrobes catching fire, including one report of second-degree burns, the Blair company has recalled 162,000 chenille robes. The robes fail to meet federal flammability requirements. They were sold through the Blair catalog and Web site, and Blair stores in Pennsylvania and Delaware from January 2003 through March 2009 for about $20 to $40. For more information, read the recall notice.

Other recalls


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