APC Surge Protectors Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

APC Surge ProtectorOn October 3, 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) announce the recall of Schneider Electric APC Surge Protectors stating that the product “can overheat, smoke and melt, posing fire hazard.” According to the recall notice, the company received 700 reports of the surge protectors overheating and melting and 55 claims of property damage caused by smoke and fire. One incident reported $916,000 in fire damage to a home; another report claimed there was $750,000 in fire damage to a medical facility. They received 13 reports of injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns.

The recall notice applies to APC 7 & 8 series SurgeArrest surge protectors manufactured before 2003. They were produced by American Power Conversion (APC), now Schneider Electric, of West Kingston, RI and sold at Best Buy, Circuit City, Comp USA and other stores nationwide from January 1993 through December 2002. See the CPSC website for a complete list of serial numbers included in the recall.

Consumers are advised to stop using the surge protectors immediately and contact Schneider Electric for a free replacement.

Consumer Contact:  Schneider Electric IT Corp., 1-888-437-4007 or http://recall.apc.com

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Sunscreen for Babies & Kids Tests Positive for Dangerous Bacteria & Fungus

Badger Recall LinkOn September 23, 2013 the FDA published the W.S. Badger Company’s voluntary recall of all lots of 4-ounce SPF 30 baby sunscreen lotion and one lot of its 4-ounce SPF kids sunscreen lotion after tests revealed microbial contamination. The products were discovered to be contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida parapsilosis and Acremonium fungus. Badger is a New Hampshire based company that has been manufacturing natural and organic body care products since 1995. As many a 30,000 tubes of the recalled sunscreen has been sold in the U.S. and Canada. It is the Number one selling all natural sunscreen in the U.S.

Although there have been no reports of adverse reactions to the sunscreen, possible risks associated with the contaminants include the following:

Pseudomonas bacteria:  can cause skin rash and ear infections and is especially threatening to people with weakened immune systems. Severe illness can develop if the bacteria enters the bloodstream.

Candida parapsilosis:  a fungus that can cause mild skin infection and severe infection if it enters the bloodstream.

Acremonium fungican:  can lead to infection if it enters the bloodstream through broken or injured skin.

The company founder and chief executive, Bill Whyte, stated that the sunscreens passed all pre-sale tests but routine re-testing revealed that “several lots had been compromised.” Consumers are being advised to return the products to the original place of purchase for complete refund or contact Badger directly at 1-800-603-6100 or recalls@badgerbalm.com.

See the FDA website to view the recall announcement, the complete list of lot numbers affected by the recall, and information on where to report adverse events related to the sunscreen products.

Lawsuits Allege Link Between Pancreatic Cancer and Diabetes Drug Byetta

byetta packagingApproved in 2005, Byetta is an injectable medication used to help lower blood sugar levels of people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. In 2007 the FDA issued a public warning that there were concerns over a possible link between pancreatitis, a condition associated with the development of pancreatic cancer, and the use of Byetta and other incretin mimetic drugs.  A 2011 study from UCLA suggested that Byetta might increase the risk  of developing pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer. According to a report published by The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 612 of the 1,069 cases of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer or hypersensitivity reaction reported to the FDA in 2012 were linked to Byetta.

These concerns escalated in March of 2013 when a study suggested a connection between the use of Byetta and the development of a precancerous condition called pancreatic duct metaplasia. Although the FDA as yet to confirm that patients taking incretin mimetics such as Byetta are in fact at risk of this disease, research on this concern is ongoing.  Both the FDA and the American Diabetes Association have requested more testing of drugs like Byetta to determine additional risks. A recent report in the British Medical Journal suggests that risks associated with incretin memtics have been minimized by drug manufacturers.

Over 60 lawsuits involving the use of Byetta and other incretin mimetic drugs such as Januvia and Victoza are underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of California. On August 26, 2013 the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated these cases (Incretins Products Liability, Sales and Marketing Litigation, MDL 252, United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict  Litigation). The first trial conference is scheduled for October 17, 2013.