Kids' vinyl lunch boxes often contain dangerous levels of lead, but government regulators have released to the public only the test results most favorable to industry, according to documents the Associated Press obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 20 percent of boxes tested in 2005 contained unsafe amounts of lead--and several contained more than 10 times the safety level.
A University of Pittsburgh child psychiatrist who conducted company-sponsored clinical trials on adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil also conferred with the company on how to respond to press inquiries challenging the safety of the drug for adolescents, reports the BBC investigative program, Panorama. The psychiatrist, Dr. Neal Ryan, sent emails to GlaxoSmithKline dating to 2002 requesting media advice.
The Federal Communications Commission has added junk food marketing critic Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Benton Foundation (an FCC watchdog), and several academic groups to a list of mostly industry advocates on an FCC task force slated to consider limits on marketing food and beverage products to children. Sen.
The new Congress is likely to put new and stronger emphasis on limiting junk food marketing, say aides to U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Harkin becomes chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in 2007. His aides report that food marketing to children "will be one of our top tier agenda items." In recent years, Harkin futilely has sought to push through legislation toughening Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate junk food marketing.