March 25, 2011 -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Lasko Products, Inc. of Westchester, PA, have recalled some 4.8 million box fans sold between July 2002 and December 2005. Lasko received seven reports of fires associated with the Lasko or Galaxy fans including house fires and a barn fire. An apparent electrical failure in the fan's motor creates the fire hazard. 

The fans were manufactured and sold in the United States. It is important as we move into summer to check the bottom of fans for the affected model numbers for Lasko -- 3720, 3723, and 3733 -- and Galaxy fan models 4733. Lasko or Galaxy is printed on the front of the fan. For pictures of the affected fans see the CPSC news release at:

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March 24, 2011 -- Nearly four years after passage of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has finally proposed rules to eliminate blind zones as part of an effort to prevent cars from backing over children. Each year there are an average of 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries from such incidents that can largely be prevented. NHTSA is holding public hearings this week and has opened its proposed rule for public comment. See the story at:

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March 24, 2011 -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a consumer alert warning that serious injury and death from children and seniors swallowing small batteries is on the rise. These are often referred to as "button batteries" of about 20mm in diameter, but also include larger 3 volt batteries. A study cited by the CPSC shows a 7-fold increase in these incidents since 1985.

CPSC has reached out to the electronic industry manufacturers to urge them to address the issue. According to CPSC, this is an "emerging hazard" that needs to be gotten ahead of quickly because of the rise in serious injury and fatalities among children and seniors. Batteries that are swallowed or become lodged in the throat or intestines most commonly release hydroxide, which results in dangerous chemical burns and is initially misdiagnosed as stomach illness in 60% of the cases.

CPSC recommends that buttons be discarded carefully out of reach of children or seniors (who often mistake them for pills), that hearing aid and other button battery devices be kept out of reach of children and compartments taped off, and to seek immediate medical attention in the event a battery is swallowed. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available 24/7 at 202.625.3333 and you can call collect if necessary.

For the full CPSC warning notice see the link below:

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March 24, 2011 -- Two jets were forced to land without the aid of an air traffic controller yesterday morning at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In response last night, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood  issued a statement that he had directed the FAA to put two air traffic controllers on duty at Reagan National during the midnight shift and had asked FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt, to evaluate the need to do so at other airports. 

Mr. Babbit issued a statement today that FAA is investigating the incident and has suspended the air traffic controller in question from all operational duties while the investigation is ongoing. Babbit said that as a former pilot he was personally outraged that the controller did not help land the two planes, but noted that the back-up system kicked in to ensure the safe landing of both airplanes. 


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