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Children’s Tylenol Recall, Herbal Supplements, Choking and More

Posted May 30 2010 12:00am

The last week of school crushed all life out of me. Here’s a round up of some news you may have missed:

This Recall of Kids Drugs Keeps Getting Stranger

Just what was going on at that Pennsylvania plant that made children’s Tylenol? Apparently the plant had been shrinking its work force while failing to train contract and temporary employees, reports the Chicago Tribune .

McNeil, the division of Johnson & Johnson that made children’s Tylenol, may face criminal action, reports The New York Times . In case you missed it, “McNeil voluntarily recalled more than 136 million bottles of liquid pediatric Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Zyrtec because they may have contained too much of the active ingredient of the drug, metal specks or inactive ingredients that failed testing requirements.”

Other stuff that came out of a hearing last week:

  • “McNeil hired a contractor to quietly remove packages of Motrin from retailers for suspected quality problems.” In effect, the whole thing was a massive, silent recall.
  • More than 40 products overall were recalled, reports the Los Angeles Times .
  • The Food and Drug Administration seems so irked by the goings on at McNeil that it has referred the case to the agency’s criminal investigation unit.

Those Herbal Supplements May not be Safe Either

The whole point of herbal supplements is that they’re natural. I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think customers want lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic or pesticides in their supplements.

But a Congressional investigation found these nasty contaminants in herbal dietary supplements, reports The New York Times . The metals were at least below what is considered the danger threshold – though there is no safe level for lead or cadmium. Worse, 16 of 40 of the tested supplements contained illegal levels of pesticide.

Food Children Can Choke on

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants labels on foods that are known choking hazards, reports The New York Times . Before you dismiss this whole story, about 60 percent of choking incidents treated at hospitals are caused by food.

In one case, a Marine couldn’t save his 23-month-old daughter after she choked on an unpopped popcorn kernel. Another dangerous food: hot dogs, which are a leading cause of choking.

Alfalfa Sprouts Sicken Dozens

If you have ever tried growing your own sprouts, you know you’re supposed to rinse alfalfa seeds in a chlorine bath to kill off salmonella bacteria.

So you would think Caldwell Fresh Foods would be extra careful. Sadly, another wave of food poisoning has struck at least 10 states and sickened at least 23 people reports The Portland Oregonian .

The sprouts were also sold at 400 Wal-Mart stores in 15 states, reports The Associated Press .

Teach Kids to Swim Earlier

My wife will be the first to admit that she feared our kids drowning at a young age. That’s why I wanted to teach them to swim as soon as possible.

Living in Chicago for two crucial years and intense resistance from my kids delayed meeting that goal until just recently, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced that children from 1-4 years of age are less likely to drown if they receive formalized swimming lessons at a young age, reports The News-Gazette .

Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 1-19.

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