September 2010 Archives

September 22, 2010

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

There have been numerous studies over the past several years regarding cell phone radiation and its possible link to cancer. While some studies suggest a link and others dismiss the idea, the answer to the cell phone- cancer link question continues to be a debate among researchers. What is a known fact, however, is that cell phones emit radiation.

In June 2010 in San Francisco, a law was passed requiring all cell phone retailers to show how much radiation cell phones emit. This law is meant to protect consumers by making this information readily available when people purchase their phones. The Wireless Association (CTIA), a group that represents the cell phone industry, was not happy about this law, and sued the city claiming this law is unconstitutional and leads consumers to believe that the FCC's standards are not enough. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees cell phone radiation standards in the United States, and demands that all cell phones be tested for radiation levels in independent labs.

A study by researchers at the non-profit Environmental Working Group discloses how much radiation is emitted by over 1200 cell phone models. Although the EWG argues that longer-term exposure (ten years or more) to cell phone radiation increases brain tumor risks, there is currently no conclusive evidence that proves there is a cell phone radiation-cancer link from either short or long-term usage. The EWG's goal with the report was to inform consumers so they could take measures to lower their potential risks. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is a measure of how much radiation the body absorbs when using a cell phone. The website www.sarshield.com contains information on cell phone radiation and has a radiation chart where users can find out how much radiation their cell phone emits.

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September 17, 2010

Fire at Park South Condo in Lauderhill Leaves One Woman Dead

A condo fire in Lauderhill on September 6th has claimed the life of an elderly woman. The victim, who was 74 years old, died from the injuries she sustained during the fire. Officials are still investigating what caused the fire, which did not spread to any other units.

This is the second fire that has occurred at Park South condos since May of this year. A 30-unit building was destroyed on May 7th by a massive fire. The cause of that blaze, which landed one person in the hospital for smoke inhalation, is also being investigated. Unfortunately, residents of that building are now left without condo insurance because the homeowners' association cancelled the insurance for that building before the fire occurred.

Stories such as the Lauderhill condo fires underline the importance of having smoke alarms that are installed correctly and maintained on a regular basis. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), over 3,000 people in the United States die each year as a result of residential fires. In two thirds of these deadly fires, the residences either did not have smoke detectors or had smoke detectors that did not work. The majority of injuries and fatalities happen during fires that occur at nighttime. Smoke and toxic gas inhalation, not burns, are the major cause of fire fatalities. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers information on testing smoke detectors and the importance of having an evacuation plan in case a fire occurs. Also, Consumer Reports offers tips on choosing smoke detectors.

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September 8, 2010

DePuy Hip Implant Recall Affects Thousands

Patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery using DePuy hip implants should know that DePuy Orthopaedics has recalled their ASR hip implants. According to research by a British agency, 1 out of every 8 people who had ASR implants needed to have their surgery corrected within 5 years. This DePuy design defect affects thousands of people -- over 90,000 DePuy hip implants have been implanted worldwide. The hip implant models included in this recall are the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.

Hip replacement surgery is a complicated surgery that can be very painful for some patients. When a patient has hip replacement surgery, they can usually expect their implants to last for 15 years or longer without needing a second surgery. However, due to DePuy's design failure in their ASR hip implants, many patients need to undergo corrective surgery within five years. Patients who are experiencing pain and having trouble walking after hip replacement using DePuy's ASR implants may have a defective implant. DePuy recommends that people with these types of implants see their doctors for a follow-up visit regardless of whether they are experiencing pain or other problems. For more information on the ASR implant recall, visit the DePuy Corporation's website.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been receiving complaints regarding the design failure in DePuy hip implants for over two years - around 400 complaints in the United States. According to The New York Times, some orthopedic experts are appalled that DePuy did not recall their devices earlier.

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