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December 2013 Archives

Who's responsible for sickness from meth-lab residue in New York?

Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported finding 147 meth labs, sets of glassware and chemicals, and byproduct-dump sites in New York -- a record high. That points to a growing problem: every meth lab leaves behind toxic chemical residue that could be harmful to later residents, or even neighbors. Unfortunately, renters and homebuyers in New York have no way of knowing whether their new home is a former meth lab.

Lead paint manufacturers ordered to pay $1.1 billion for abatement

In a surprising but welcome ruling, a California judge recently ruled that three lead paint companies are responsible for creating a public nuisance with their products, which were routinely used in homes before 1978. Ten cities and counties had sued Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries and ConAgra Grocery Products (as a successor company to W.P. Fuller & Co.) for the widespread lead paint hazards suffered by property owners across the state. They argued the manufacturers should be required to help clean it up, even though their product was legal at the time.

Insurance device targeting teen distraction approved in New York

The New York State Department of Financial Services has just approved a voluntary program through the insurance company Esurance that allows parents to block certain types of cellphone use when a car is in motion. The program, called “DriveSafe,” gives policyholders of the Allstate subsidiary to install a free device on the cars their teen drivers use. When a corresponding app is installed on the teen’s phone, the device communicates with the phone, blocking its use for certain purposes. It can also monitor teens’ driving behavior.

December's the worst month for certain fires in homes. What kind?

December is the deadliest month of the year for one particular type of fire. Can you guess which one? If you assumed it was Christmas tree fires, the U.S. Fire Administration wants you to know that’s not the case. While under-watered natural trees and defective artificial ones can indeed be fire hazards, the real danger in December is electrical fires.

Could lead paint in your apartment be poisoning your child?

If you rent an apartment or house in New York that was built before 1978, your home may contain lead paint. While you shouldn’t dismiss other potential causes of lead poisoning, dust from lead paint is still the No. 1 source of lead poisoning in U.S. children.

Players sue high school coach, district for injuries, negligence

Six former high school football players and two parents have filed a lawsuit against the football coach and the school superintendent and the Marlboro Central School District in of Marlboro, a small town near Poughkeepsie. The coach was hired in 2010 and indeed carried the Marlboro Iron Dukes to victory but, according to the former students, that success was at an appalling cost. They claim the coach ordered them to “intentionally and improperly injure” opposing players he targeted.

Study: huge rise in cyclists killed in distracted driving wrecks

An analysis of U.S. traffic fatalities reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that was just published by researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center revealed an alarming trend. While traffic fatalities overall have generally declined, fatal accidents involving both bicyclists and pedestrians are actually on the increase.

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