(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

FDA warns of compounded drug recall by Texas firm

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration warned doctors Wednesday not to use compounded drugs from a Texas specialty pharmacy due to potential risks of contamination.
The agency says FDA inspectors recently uncovered unsanitary conditions at Unique Pharmaceuticals’ plant in Temple, Texas. The inspections revealed production problems in several drug lots that were supposed to be sterile.
“Using these products puts patients at an unacceptable risk for serious infection,” said Carol Bennett, an official in the FDA’s drug center.
At the behest of regulators, Unique Pharmaceuticals has recalled all non-expired, sterile products distributed across the U.S., including a fluid used to clear mucus in patients with respiratory conditions. The company has also halted production of all other sterile drugs, which are generally solutions administered via injection or intravenous infusion. A spokesman for the company said it continues to produce other forms of drugs that do not require sterile conditions.
“We are diligently working to address FDA’s concerns noted before the recall,” said David Shank, in a statement. “We have commissioned third-party independent experts to address those concerns and ensure the safety of our compounded preparations for our customers.” Shank added that the recall could contribute to shortages of medicines already in short supply.
The FDA said in a statement it is not aware of any illnesses linked...
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U.S. Military Is Scrutinized Over Trash Burning in Afghanistan

The United States military spent millions of dollars on garbage incinerators in Afghanistan that went unused as tons of trash burned in open piles, wafting toxic smoke over thousands of troops, according to a report released Tuesday by an American watchdog agency.
The new report focused on Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan but echoed the findings of three previous reports by the agency, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, since April 2013. All found that the Defense Department wasted millions of dollars on incinerators at major bases that operated at a fraction of capacity — if at all — while the open burning of toxic material continued.
The reports also concluded that the military in Afghanistan violated regulations put in place by Congress and the Pentagon to end large-scale open-pit trash burning after the health risks of the practice gained national attention during the war in Iraq.
Despite these regulations, every base in Afghanistan visited by inspectors continued to burn waste, including tires, plastics, batteries and other potentially toxic junk, in open pits, sometimes shunting the smoky job off to Afghan troops. And though a 2010 law requires the military to notify Congress whenever certain toxic materials are burned, the report said no notifications were sent.
“There was a lack of planning and a lack of holding people accountable and as a result the health of our troops was put at risk,” John F. Sopko,...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Deadly silica standard is killing UK workers

Photo: Jawad Qasrawi

Today's post is shared from Silica exposure was the the trigger in the US during the 1059's that incorporated occupational diseases into the workers' compensation acts throughout the US.
Silica exposures kill over 1,000 workers a year in the UK and leave many more fighting for breath. But, unlike its US counterpart, finds Hazards editor Rory O’Neill, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is following the industry line and says our deadly silica exposure standard is just fine.
When the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Teesdale Architectural Stone Ltd (TASL) in September 2007, it discovered workers were facing unacceptably high exposures to crystalline silica, a dust that can cause lung cancer, the breath-stealing disorder silicosis and other serious diseases.
In two letters, the regulator told the Barnard Castle firm to clean up its act. Then it did nothing. After all, the company had written twice to assure the watchdog improvements had been made.
Only they hadn’t. Five more years passed before a return HSE visit discovered workers were still facing a lung-clogging and potentially deadly daily dose of dust.
What’s the problem?

The US regulator says clear the air, the UK regulator says eat dust
In the UK, the official workplace safety regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is resisting behind closed doors any shift to a more stringent silica exposure standard that would help prevent cancers, lung and kidney diseases and other potentially fatal conditions. Affected workers have no say.
In the US, the official workplace safety regulator, OSHA, is arguing at public hearings...
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Veterans' Needs 'Should Drive Where They Get Their Care'

Today's post is shared from and illustrates the effort by Congress to provide more efficient medical delivery for veterans.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers resume work this week to resolve differences over legislation aimed at alleviating long wait times for medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics after reports that s  me veterans may have died awaiting appointment sand that some VA staff falsified records to cover up excessive wait times.  Five senior VA leaders – including former department secretary Eric Shinsekihave resigned in the past six weeks.

Dr. Kenneth Kizer
Both the House and Senate have passed bills that would allow veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA system if they meet certain conditions, including living more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility.
Dr. Kenneth Kizer, a former VA undersecretary for health, spoke recently with KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey about the issue of the VA contracting with outsideproviders for medical care. Kizer, the founding chief executive officer and president of the National Quality Forum, is now director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California, Davis.
An edited transcript of that interview follows.
Q: Both the House and Senate bills include a provision allowing the VA to contract with non–VA medical providers to ease waiting lists.  What are some of the challenges the VA faces in creating new outside networks of providers.
A: The challenges in creating new networks...
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Ask Well: Nanoparticles in Sunscreens

Today's post is shared from Workers' in an outdoor environment are exposed the the sun's rays. The question arises as to whether present protective measures, ie. sunscreens are more harmful than helpful.

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been used increasingly in sunscreens in the last decade to protect the skin because the tiny particles directly absorb the radiation from sunlight, especially in the UVB range. But because the articles are so tiny — generally about 100 nanometers across, compared with about 3,000 to 9,000 nanometers for a speck of dust — some scientists have raised concerns about whether they might do harm by seeping through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Concerns grew when studies in mice showed that when injected under the skin, titanium dioxide caused inflammation . In addition, the International Agency on Cancer Research, part of the World Health Organization, decided in 2006 to classify titanium dioxide as a potential human carcinogen, based mostly on inhalation studies in animals, though the group called the evidence “conflicting at best.”

But research has largely dismissed such concerns about absorption, and most experts say that sunscreens containing nanoparticles can be safely used.

More recently, concerns have focused on the possibility that these nanoparticles could promote skin aging....

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CA DWC Issues Notice of Public Hearing on September 3 for Proposed Workers’ Comp Benefit Notice Regulations Amendments

Today's post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from

San Francisco, CA ( - The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) has issued a notice of public hearing on proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Benefit Notice regulations found in California Code of Regulations, title 8, sections 9810, 9811, 9812, 9813, 9814, 9815, 9881.1 and 10139.
Formal notice of this rulemaking proceeding will be published in today’s California Regulatory Notice Register. A public hearing on the proposed regulations has been scheduled at 10 a.m., September 3 in the auditorium of the Elihu Harris State Office Building at 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612. If public comment concludes before the noon recess, no afternoon session will be held. Members of the public may submit written comments on the proposed regulations until 5 p.m. that day.
The rulemaking proposes to amend and update existing regulations requiring employers to serve notice on injured employees that they may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These notices deal with: the payment, nonpayment, or delay in payment of temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits; any change in the amount or type of benefits being provided; the termination of benefits; the rejection of any liability for compensation; and the requirement to provide an accounting of benefits paid. In addition, changes are also being proposed to the Notice to Employees Poster and the Notice of Potential Eligibility for Benefits and Claim Form.
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County Building Set for Demolition Contains Asbestos

Asbestos Sign
Asbestos Sign

Todays post is shared from
An asbestos review on a county-owned building that will be torn down found some of the substance in the structure.
The building, which is just south of the Franklin County Government Center in Union, will be torn down to create more county employee parking.
The goal is to keep county employees from parking on the street in downtown Union, where there is said to be a parking shortage.
Keeping the county employees from parking on the street will open up more parking for the public and patrons of downtown businesses, First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker noted.
He did not know how many employees are parking on the street in downtown Union, but he said there are “quite a few.”
Brinker said this week that asbestos has been found in some of the caulking around a door.
Cochran Engineering of Union, which did the asbestos and lead survey on the building, recommended that the contractor chosen for the demolition include in its work proper disposal of the asbestos.
The county commission may vote next week to seek bids on the demolition of the building, which resembles a Quonset hut.
Lung cancer has been associated with asbestos exposure, according to the EPA.
Brinker said tearing down the building also honors an agreement that was made between the city of Union and a prior commission. The current county commission has to fulfill the agreement since it was not done before, he said. The agreement involved the city of Union vacating a street so the county could...
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