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:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11181.html

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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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FDA has warned that the migraine and anti-sizure medication, Topamax (Topiramate), has been linked to birth defects in children of mothers who use the drug during pregnancy. These include cleft lips and cleft palates. 

For more information on the reports see:

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm245594.htm

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FDA has determined that it will not require a warning on low dose, short term use (14 days or less) over the counter (OTC) proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs are used primarily to decrease acid in the stomach that can come from heartburn, ulcers or other stomach disorders. Some common PPIs include Prilosec, Protonix, Nexium and Prevacid. 

According to FDA the OTC PPIs are indicated for 14 days or less and are lower doses than at prescription level. If a consumer is taking more than the recommended low dose or is using the PPI for longer than 14 days, he or she should first discuss the risks of osteoporosis and fracture with a physician. FDA is attempting to make healthcare officials aware of the risk for fracture if they are recommending use of the OTC PPIs at higher doses or for longer periods than in the OTC PPI label.

For more information on the news release see PPIFracture at www.fda.gov 

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