General Motors said last week that it was recalling more than 700,000 vehicles because of a problem with the ignition switch.
GM said six people had been killed in accidents.
But CBS News has learned GM’s recall is coming 10 years after the defect was first discovered and seven years after people began to die.
On Oct. 24, 2006, a compact car went off the road in St. Croix County, Wis.
Two teenage girls were killed when a Chevrolet Cobalt went off the road in Wisconsin
Two teenagers were killed: 18-year-old Natasha Weigel and Margie Beskau’s 15-year-old daughter, Amy. “There’s days that I am fine, days that I can function,” Beskau said. “But there’s just as many bad days where you just want to cry all day.”
There was no drinking involved, no other cars on the road. Weather was determined not to be a factor.
The parents of the two teenagers are still searching for answers
No one was wearing a seat belt, but an investigation found the airbags never deployed, and the ignition switch was found in the accessory position, meaning the car likely did not have power when it crashed. No power steering, no power brakes, no airbags.Natasha’s stepfather, Ken Rimer, has spent the last eight years looking for answers.
“Every day we go: ‘I wonder what happened?'” he said.
No one has ever told him.
The girls were in a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, a vehicle included in that massive recall of more than 700,000 cars just last week, because GM says a heavy key ring or sudden jarring can switch the car off.
More than 700,000 cars are recalled
Now, in a letter sent to the Department of Transportation by the family of another person who died in a Cobalt – a 29-year-old nurse in Georgia named Brooke Melton – lawyers charge GM knew about the ignition defect in 2004.A service bulletin was posted to dealers by GM in 2005 in case customers complained, saying “there is potential for the driver to inadvertently turn off the ignition….the concern is more likely to occur if the driver is short and has a large and or heavy key chain.”
But the cars kept being manufactured, without a fix, and none were called back.
Joan Claybrook is the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“This is an immoral act by General Motors to cover up this defect, not tell people and then the result was inevitable, that people were going to die and be injured and that to me is unconscionable,” she said. “It’s like throwing an airplane passenger out without a parachute.”
CBS News asked GM for a comment on camera. The company declined.
When CBS News asked last week why the recall wasn’t issued a decade ago, the company said: “The incident rate was very low with no growing trend.”
Eighteen-year-old Natasha Weigel was killed when the Chevrolet Cobalt went off the road
It added today: “The safety of our customers is paramount. Given our present understanding of the 2005-2007 cobalt ignition switch torque capabilities, we have announced a recall.”Families who lost loved ones may be getting answers.
Margie Beskau’s 15-year-old daughter, Amy, also died
“It made me angry,” Beskau said. “They knew something was wrong with the car before the accident. I just don’t understand how they can knowingly put these cars out and still let people drive them. This is my child. This is my baby girl.”Natasha and Amy’s deaths are two of six that have been linked to the ignition issue. The company stopped making the Cobalt in 2010, but there are still more than a half a million on the road.
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Feb 15, 2014 12:45 PM EST
Toyota Recalls 295,000 Vehicles Globally
By Matt Mercuro
Toyota Motor is recalling about 295,000 Lexus and Toyota brand vehicles worldwide due to issues with various safety systems like stability control and anti-lock brakes.
The automaker said an electrical component in the brake actuator, which regulates fluid pressure in each wheel cylinder, could “experience increased resistance,” according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This could increase the chance of a crash since a number of features may not work properly.
Of the vehicles recalled, 261,114 were sold in the U.S. The remaining vehicles were exported to other countries, according to the automaker.
Affected vehicles include 57,000 Lexus RX350 crossover vehicles, a 109,000 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks, both released for the 2012 and 2013 model years.
At least 129,000 2012 Toyota RAV4 SUVs are also included.
Around 54,010 RX350 vehicles, 107,052 RAV4 SUVs, and 100,052 Tacoma trucks are affected in the U.S., according to the NHTSA.
Toyota and Lexus dealers are being instructed to update the software for the skid control electronic unit, free of charge.
Toyota recalled 1.9 million of its 3rd generation Prius vehicles worldwide due to a programming issue earlier this week.
Agila Specialties Private Limited Initiates Voluntary Nationwide Recall of 10 Lots of Etomidate Injection 2 mg/mL – 10 mL and 20 mL due to the Presence of Particulate Matter and/or Illegible and Missing Lot Number and/or Expiry Date
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Mylan Inc. today announced that its subsidiary Agila Specialties Private Limited is conducting a voluntary nationwide recall to the hospital/user level of 10 lots of Etomidate Injection 2 mg/mL – 10 mL and 20 mL (see lot breakdown below). The 10 lots were manufactured by Agila Specialties Polska sp.zo.o in Warsaw, Poland. All of the products bear a Pfizer label. Agila Specialties Private Limited initiated the recall on Feb. 13, 2014, due to the potential for small black particles, identified as paper shipper labels, to be present in individual vials; the potential for missing lot number and/or expiry date on the outer carton, and the potential for illegible/missing lot number and expiry on individual vials. Intravenous administration of particles may lead to impairment of microcirculation, phlebitis, infection, embolism and subsequent infarction. Mylan and Pfizer have not received any reports of adverse events related to the recalled product to date.
Etomidate is a hypnotic drug without analgesic activity. It is indicated by intravenous injection for the induction of general anesthesia. Etomidate is also indicated for the supplementation of subpotent anesthetic agents. Etomidate 2 mg/mL is packaged in glass vials in 10 mL and 20 mL volumes. Product was distributed Nationwide to distributors, retailers, hospitals, pharmacies, and/or clinics. The affected Etomidate lots include the following:
Mylan notified its customers of the recall by letter on Feb. 13, 2014. Distributors, retailers, hospitals, pharmacies, or clinics that have product which is being recalled should stop use and discontinue distribution.
Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact Mylan Customer Service with questions at 800.848.0462 on Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product.
Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.
This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to setting new standards in health care. Working together around the world to provide 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service excellence a habit; do what’s right, not what’s easy; and impact the future through passionate global leadership. We offer a growing portfolio of more than 1,300 generic pharmaceuticals and several brand medications. In addition, we offer a wide range of antiretroviral therapies, upon which approximately 40% of HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries depend. We also operate one of the largest active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers and currently market products in approximately 140 countries and territories. Our workforce of more than 20,000 people is dedicated to improving the customer experience and increasing pharmaceutical access to consumers around the world. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself. See inside. mylan.com
UPDATED: Feb. 14, 2014, 10:47 a.m.
General Motors is recalling about 619,000 small cars in the United States because either a heavy key ring or a “jarring event” such as running off the road could cause the ignition to shut off and possibly prevent the air bags from deploying in a crash, the automaker said in a report posted today on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. The vehicles affected by the recall are the 2007 Pontiac G5 and the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalt.
In addition to the vehicles being recalled in the United States, another 153,000 in Canada and 6,100 in Mexico are being recalled.
In a separate news release, G.M. said it knew of six deaths in five crashes in which the front air bags did not deploy.
“All of these crashes occurred off-road and at high speeds, where the probability of serious or fatal injuries was high regardless of air bag deployment. In addition, failure to wear seat belts and alcohol use were factors in some of these cases,” the statement said.
Alcohol was involved in two of the five crashes, resulting in three of the deaths, Alan Adler, a spokesman for G.M., said in a telephone interview. The statement said G.M. was also aware of 17 other crashes “involving some type of frontal impact and nonfatal injuries where the air bags did not deploy.”
Mr. Adler said it was possible that hitting a deep pothole could turn off the ignition, but that G.M. had received no such reports. A figure for the weight of key rings causing the problems was not available.
The automaker told N.H.T.S.A. that the “ignition switch torque performance may not meet General Motors’ specification” on the vehicles, which were assembled in Lordstown, Ohio.
In 2005 G. M. sent dealers a technical service bulletin about the 2005-6 Cobalt warning about a stalling problem related to heavy key rings. At that time, Mr. Adler explained, “In rare cases when a combination of factors is present, a Chevrolet Cobalt driver can cut power to the engine by inadvertently bumping the ignition key to the accessory or off position while the car is running. Service advisers are telling customers they can virtually eliminate this possibility by taking several steps, including removing nonessential material from their key rings.”
Mr. Adler wrote in an email Friday morning that “the 2005 service bulletin was based on the facts as understood at the time. Safety of our consumers is paramount to G.M.; given our present understanding of the 2005-7 Cobalt ignition switch torque capabilities, we have announced a recall.”
Business Day|Business Briefing
The Food and Drug Administration updated safety requirements for producers of infant formula. The changes require companies to tighten their quality control procedures and reporting requirements. They also require that the companies meet so-called good manufacturing practices, which include testing for contamination from pathogens like salmonella. Most companies already meet those standards, but the rule will give the agency more control over enforcing them. The rule will also ensure that infant formula contains all federally required nutrients. The changes will be open to public comment for 45 days.
Carlos Rodriguez Herrera said he often worked 65 hours a week as a deliveryman for a Domino’s pizza shop on East 89th Street in Manhattan but was paid for just 45 hours. A co-worker, Anatole Yameogo, remembers working from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. one Saturday, but his pay stub said he worked just five hours that day.
“One manager told me you will work more than 50 hours a week but we’ll pay you for 40,” Mr. Yameogo said. “That helps the managers increase their bonus.”
Citing these and other complaints, the two bicycle deliverymen sued the Domino’s franchisee that employed them, accusing it of minimum wage and overtime violations. Eventually, dozens of delivery workers joined the lawsuit, and their lawyers announced on Friday that the Domino’s franchisee, DPNY Inc., had agreed to pay $1.28 million to 61 workers to settle the claims.
The awards will range from $61,300 to $400 per delivery person, depending on how long each worked for DPNY, which owns four Domino’s in Manhattan.
“It took three years of litigation, but it’s a great victory for them,” said Karen Cacace, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, which brought the case. “Hopefully it will inspire other delivery workers and low-wage workers to take action if they’re not being paid correctly, and hopefully it will make employers recognize that there can be a significant cost to violating wage laws.”
The lawsuit accused DPNY of many violations, among them, not giving a legally required lunch break, not paying for their uniforms, and paying a subminimum tip wage even when the workers did untipped work, like cleaning ovens and floors or distributing Domino’s fliers.
David Melton, the owner of DPNY, said he had settled “to get the situation behind us and move forward with our business.”
“In any dispute people say things that may or may not be true, and that is the case here,” Mr. Melton said. “We made some mistakes in our business.”
He added that in his 25 years running DPNY, “thousands of our team members over those years have greatly benefited from their relationships with us.”
Mr. Yameogo, who worked for DPNY from 2005 to 2009, said, “I knew they were stealing my hours, but I had no choice but to stay because I had a family to support.” He sends part of his earnings to his wife and children in Burkina Faso.
Mr. Rodriguez, an immigrant from Mexico, said he initiated legal action after he first complained to his manager that he had been improperly underpaid and was fired on the spot in 2007. “The boss would always tell people, ‘If you don’t like it here, the door is open to go elsewhere,'” he said.
Mr. Rodriguez took his complaint to the State Department of Labor, but after it did little on the case for two years, he turned to the Legal Aid Society. Midway through the lawsuit, DPNY filed for bankruptcy, saying it could not afford the potential liability. Lawyers from Shearman & Sterling worked pro bono to help the plaintiffs on bankruptcy and other issues.
Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV of Federal District Court granted the plaintiffs’ request to include the national Domino’s Pizza company as a defendant, after the delivery workers asserted that it was a joint employer that knew or should have known about the franchisee’s alleged wage violations.
At a bankruptcy hearing, a lawyer for DPNY valued Domino’s contribution to the settlement at $140,000, in various forms, including waiving and delaying some of the franchisee’s payments. Ms. Cacace said Judge James M. Peck of federal Bankruptcy Court required a contribution from the national company as part of the settlement.
In a statement, Domino’s said it was “not ‘contributing’ to the settlement in any way.”
It said that Mr. Melton owed the company several hundred thousand dollars in back royalties.
“We are holding off in collecting that money,” the statement said, “so that he can use it to pay off his other creditors, including the parties involved in the settlement agreement.”
The lawsuit asserted that DPNY should have paid the full state minimum wage rather than the $5.65 tip wage for delivery workers because the company failed to keep proper records of their tipped hours and failed to properly explain tip wages.
“It was brave of these guys to come forward,” Ms. Cacace said. “You often get fired when you sue people.”
Breaking news for everyone’s consumption
The recalled products are St. Mary’s River Smokehouses Oven Smoked Salmon Stix, Chili Mango Flavor, in a 4 oz. black Styrofoam tray with an outer sleeve bearing the UPC Code 6 2642510092 9. The recall is specific to products marked with the production code 347 31## on a sticker on the end of the styrofoam tray.
The salmon was distributed in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York through retail stores.
The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by FDA which revealed that samples of the finished products contained the Listeria. Lochiel Enterprises Limited has voluntarily initiated the recall and is continuing its investigation.
No illnesses have been reported to date.
Consumers who have purchased the product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
© Food Safety News
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Ford have recalled several models for impaired windshield visibility. “The presence of bubbles may hinder driver’s visibility thereby increasing the risk of a crash,” according to the recall notice.
The recall has been issued for certain model year 2011 Ford E-150, E-250, E-350 and E-450 vehicles Ford says were built between May 12, 2011 and May 26, 2011
“Due to improper manufacturing conditions, some of the windshields may form bubbles after an extended time in hot temperatures. As such, these vehicles fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, ‘Glazing Materials,'” reads the statement.
In a report, Ford says, “On May 23, 2011, at the Ohio Assembly Plant, a vehicle was discovered with a windshield that exhibited bubbles after sitting in the yard for three days. Other vehicles were found exhibiting bubbles in the yard. A stop ship was issued and all vehicles were inspected and repaired. An investigation was conducted and it was determined that some windshields were not manufactured correctly. A review of field data determined that vehicles had been shipped with the condition and were being repaired under Ford’s 3/36 warranty. Ford conducted a review of FMVSS 205 and determined that some windshields may not fully meet the requirement of Section S5.1 .1 that cites ANSI 226.1-1996 section 5.4, Boil Test, which prohibits bubbles in the test area.”
While the initial disclosure of the problem was filed by Ford with NHTSA in September 2011, the recall was not issued until January, in light of a petition from Ford to exempt the company from notification and remedying the situation.
The potential number of units estimated to be affected is 4,532. Of those, Steven Kenner, a representative of Ford, said in a 2011 letter to NHTSA only 100 of those windshields may bubble.
“Certain manufacturing conditions at the supplier may have allowed air particles to be trapped between the layers of glass. When the windshield is exposed to high temperatures, such as when the vehicle is parked in the sun with the windows closed in ambient temperatures greater than 80° Fahrenheit, bubbles may develop. Due to high seasonal temperatures when this concern occurred, it is expected that windshields with the potential for this condition would develop air bubbles at very low time-in-service, typically prior to delivery to the final customers. Out of 41 reports received of the 100 expected vehicles with the condition, only one has occurred subsequent to customer delivery,” Kenner wrote in the letter.
“There are no reports of air bubbles affecting the entire windshield. If bubbles occurred in the driver vision zone, they did not completely obscure it,” he added. “The appearance of the air bubbles is a slow process, most likely occurring when the vehicle is parked in the sun with the windows closed, and would be noticed by the customer who would seek repair under Ford’s normal 3/36 warranty.”
To correct the situation, Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the windshield if bubbles are present, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on, or about, January 27, 2014.
ATLANTA — Fifty years ago, ashtrays seemed to be on every table and desk. Athletes and even Fred Flintstone endorsed cigarettes in TV commercials. Smoke hung in the air in restaurants, offices and airplane cabins. More than 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked, and there was a good chance your doctor was among them.
The turning point came on Jan. 11, 1964. It was on that Saturday morning that U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death — and the government should do something about it.
In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up.
“It was the beginning,” said Kenneth Warner, a University of Michigan public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health.
It was not the end. While the U.S. smoking rate has fallen by more than half to 18 percent, that still translates to more than 43 million smokers. Smoking is still far and away the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Some experts predict large numbers of Americans will puff away for decades to come.
Nevertheless, the Terry report has been called one of the most important documents in U.S. public health history, and on its 50th anniversary, officials are not only rolling out new anti-smoking campaigns but reflecting on what the nation did right that day.
The report’s bottom-line message was hardly revolutionary. Since 1950, head-turning studies that found higher rates of lung cancer in heavy smokers had been appearing in medical journals. A widely read article in Reader’s Digest in 1952, “Cancer by the Carton,” contributed to the largest drop in cigarette consumption since the Depression. In 1954, the American Cancer Society announced that smokers had a higher cancer risk.
But the tobacco industry fought back. Manufacturers came out with cigarettes with filters that they claimed would trap toxins before they settled into smokers’ lungs. And in 1954, they placed a full-page ad in hundreds of newspapers in which they argued that research linking their products and cancer was inconclusive.
It was a brilliant counter-offensive that left physicians and the public unsure how dangerous smoking really was. Cigarette sales rebounded.
In 1957 and 1959, Surgeon General Leroy Burney issued statements that heavy smoking causes lung cancer. But they had little impact.
Amid pressure from health advocates, President John F. Kennedy’s surgeon general, Dr. Luther Terry, announced in 1962 that he was convening an expert panel to examine all the evidence and issue a comprehensive, debate-settling report. To ensure the panel was unimpeachable, he let the tobacco industry veto any proposed members it regarded as biased.
Surveys indicated a third to a half of all physicians smoked tobacco products at the time, and the committee reflected the culture: Half its 10 members were smokers, who puffed away during committee meetings. Terry himself was a cigarette smoker.
Dr. Eugene Guthrie, an assistant surgeon general, helped persuade Terry to kick the habit a few months before the press conference releasing the report.
“I told him, ‘You gotta quit that. I think you can get away with a pipe — if you don’t do it openly.’ He said, ‘You gotta be kidding!’ I said, ‘No, I’m not. It just wouldn’t do. If you smoke any cigarettes, you better do it in a closet,'” Guthrie recalled in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
The press conference was held on a Saturday partly out of concern about its effect on the stock market. About 200 reporters attended.
The committee said cigarette smoking clearly did cause lung cancer and was responsible for the nation’s escalating male cancer death rate. It also said there was no valid evidence filters were reducing the danger. The committee also said — more vaguely — that the government should address the problem.
“This was front-page news, and every American knew it,” said Robin Koval, president of Legacy, an anti-smoking organization.
Cigarette consumption dropped a whopping 15 percent over the next three months but then began to rebound. Health officials realized it would take more than one report.
In 1965, Congress required cigarette packs to carry warning labels. Two years later, the Federal Communications Commission ordered TV and radio stations to provide free air time for anti-smoking public service announcements. Cigarette commercials were banned in 1971.
Still, progress was slow. Warner recalled teaching at the University of Michigan in 1972, when nearly half the faculty members at the school of public health were smokers. He was one of them.
“I felt like a hypocrite and an idiot,” he said. But smoking was still the norm, and it was difficult to quit, he said.
The 1970s also saw the birth of a movement to protect nonsmokers from cigarette fumes, with no-smoking sections on airplanes, in restaurants and in other places. Those eventually gave way to complete smoking bans. Cigarette machines disappeared, cigarette taxes rose, and restrictions on the sale of cigarettes to minors got tougher.
Tobacco companies also came under increasing legal attack. In the biggest case of them all, more than 40 states brought lawsuits demanding compensation for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Big Tobacco settled in 1998 by agreeing to pay about $200 billion and curtail marketing of cigarettes to youths.
In 1998, while the settlement was being completed, tobacco executives appeared before Congress and publicly acknowledged for the first time that their products can cause lung cancer and be addictive.
Experts agree that the Terry report clearly triggered decades of changes that whittled the smoking rate down. But it was based on data that was already out there. Why, then, did it make such a difference?
For one thing, the drumbeat about the dangers of smoking was getting louder in 1964, experts said. But the way the committee was assembled and the carefully neutral manner in which it reached its conclusion were at least as important, said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, he and others said any celebration of the anniversary must be tempered by the size of the problem that still exists.
Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the CDC.
Donald Shopland finds that depressing.
Fifty years ago, he was a 19-year-old who smoked two packs a day while working as a clerk for the surgeon general’s committee. He quit cigarettes right after the 1964 report came out, and went on to a long and distinguished public health career in which he wrote or edited scores of books and reports on smoking’s effects.
“We should be much further along than we are,” the Georgia retiree lamented.