(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Massachusetts Sues Purdue Pharma for Illegally Marketing Opioids and Profiting From Opioid Epidemic

More than 670 Massachusetts Residents Prescribed Purdue Opioids Died from Opioid-Related Overdoses since 2009; Purdue Sales Reps Made 150,000 Visits to Medical Offices Since 2008, Sold 70 Million Doses Generating $500 Million in Revenue

Attorney General Maura Healey sued Purdue Pharma L.P. and Purdue Pharma Inc. (Purdue) for misleading prescribers and consumers about the addiction and health risks of their opioids, including OxyContin, to get more people to take these drugs, at higher and more dangerous doses, and for longer periods of time to increase the companies’ profits.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers' compensation condition. Examining state-level trends in suicide and the multiple circumstances contributing to it can inform comprehensive state suicide prevention planning.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

US Supreme Court - NY State Permitted to Close State Fund

The US Supreme Court [SCOTUS] has declined to review the challenge by multiple insurance carriers to the closure of the New York State Insurance Fund. Consistent with a national trend to terminate Second Injury Funds as being obsolete, economically impractical, and no longer warranted,  SCOTUS, by declining the Petition for a writ of certiorari, validated the methodology employed by the State of New York to implement the termination of the Fund.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Workers exposed to common paint strippers suffer fatal reactions

Litigation is advancing against the distributors and resellers of paint strippers containing methylene chloride and NMP. The lawsuits were filed for damages resulting from the alleged exposure, illness and death of users of the products.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

1 in 3 swimming-related disease outbreaks occur at hotels

Crypto parasite continues to cause most outbreaks and illnesses linked to pools and water playgrounds.

A third of treated recreational waterborne disease outbreaks during 2000 through 2014 occurred in hotel pools or hot tubs, according to a report published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”), Pseudomonas, and Legionella causes most of the outbreaks in swimming venues in the United States during this time period. Crypto is a parasite tough enough to survive even in properly maintained pools. Pseudomonas and Legionella are bacteria that can survive disinfectants in slimy areas of hot tubs, pools, and water playgrounds.

The report describes mixed progress in preventing outbreaks caused by germs spread through treated recreational water. The 493 outbreaks reported during this period resulted in at least 27,219 illnesses and eight deaths. The number of respiratory disease outbreaks caused by Legionella increased over time and skin infection outbreaks caused by Pseudomonas decreased over time. Diarrheal disease outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium leveled off during 2008 through 2014. More than half of outbreaks started in the summer, the peak season for swimming.

Common parasite remains the leading cause of illness from pools

Crypto causes 58 percent of outbreaks where a germ was identified linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds and 89 percent of the illnesses. Crypto spreads in pools when someone sick with the parasite has diarrhea in the water and other swimmers swallow that contaminated water. Swimmers and parents of young swimmers play an essential role in preventing Crypto outbreaks.

“Swallowing just a mouthful of water with Crypto in it can make otherwise healthy kids and adults sick for weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting,” said Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program. “Chlorine cannot kill Crypto quickly. We need to keep it out of the water in the first place. Don’t go into the water, and don’t let your kids go into the water if sick with diarrhea.”

Bacteria cause respiratory illness and skin rashes

The bacteria Legionella and Pseudomonas are the next most leading causes of these outbreaks, with 16 percent of outbreaks caused by Legionella and 13 percent caused by Pseudomonas. Legionella can cause severe pneumonia and symptoms similar to the flu. Pseudomonas can cause hot tub rash and swimmer’s ear.

Legionnaires’ (LEE-juh-nares) disease is a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella (LEE-juh-nell-a) bacteria. Legionella can also cause a milder illness called Pontiac fever. People can get sick when they breathe in a mist or accidentally swallow water into the lungs containing Legionella. Most people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. However, people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and people with a weakened immune system or chronic disease are at increased risk.

Legionnaires’ disease is a risk in healthcare facilities across the United States, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report. Unfortunately, this serious bacterial lung infection is deadly for 1 in 4 people who get it from a healthcare facility.

If a pool, hot tub, or water playground is not cleaned properly, bacteria can grow and form a slime called biofilm on wet surfaces. Legionella and Pseudomonas can live in this biofilm. It is harder for disinfectants to kill these bacteria when they are protected by biofilm. Pool operators need to maintain proper cleaning practices and disinfectant levels to prevent bacteria from growing and causing illnesses in swimmers. CDC provides specific recommendations for operating public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds in the Model Aquatic Health Code.

Some people are more likely to get sick from Legionella, including people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, people with chronic lung disease, and people with a weakened immune system. These people should see a doctor right away if they develop pneumonia symptoms and let the doctor know about any possible exposures to Legionella, including recent hot tub use.

Protect yourself and your family from germs spread through the water we swim in and share

  • Take the following steps to protect yourself and loved ones from germs when swimming in pools, soaking in hot tubs, or visiting water playgrounds: 
  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. If Crypto is the cause of diarrhea, wait until 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming. 
  • Check the pools, hot tubs, and water playground inspection scores. 
  • Before getting in the water, use a test strip from your local retailer or pool supply store to check if the water’s pH and bromine or free chlorine level are correct. 
  • Don’t swallow the water. 
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). 

For over 4 decades theLaw Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Monday, May 28, 2018

US Burn Pit Legislation: Bipartisan Bill to Evaluate US Troops Exposure to Toxic Burn Pits

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Brian Mast (FL-18), along with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), hosted a press conference today urging their colleagues to support and pass the Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671). The bipartisan legislation would evaluate the exposure of U.S. servicemembers to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Cyber Actors Target Home and Office Routers and Networked Devices Worldwide

Cybersecurity researchers have identified that foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide. The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office/home office (SOHO) routers. VPNFilter malware uses modular functionality to collect intelligence, exploit local area network (LAN) devices, and block actor-configurable network traffic. Specific characteristics of VPNFilter have only been observed in the BlackEnergy malware, specifically BlackEnergy versions 2 and 3.