Federal Appeals Court Rules Amazon Not Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

In 2014, a Maryland couple’s house was burned down by a headlamp purchased on Amazon. The couple sued Amazon for damages, but Amazon asserted that the Chinese company that manufactured the product was at fault. A Maryland judge sided with Amazon, stating that Amazon was only the platform for selling the product and never actually owned the product. The couple appealed the ruling, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond agreed with the original decision. Amazon and Product Liability This isn’t the first time Amazon has had trouble with product liability allegations. In 2016, a Tennessee family’s…

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Metro Removes and Subsequently Reinstates 3000-Series Cars

On Tuesday, the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (“Metro”) took all of its 3000-series cars out of service after receiving a report that a car door had slid open on an Orange Line train on Sunday. According to The Washington Post, Metro first became aware of the incident after a rider posted a video of the open door on social media on Monday, and later confirmed the malfunction with camera footage at the Dunn Loring station. Metro’s General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, said in a news conference on Tuesday that the removal of the 3000-series cars was temporary, and that Metro was unsure…

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Replacement Takata Airbag Recall: What You Need to Know (Part II)

Honda recently issued a recall of vehicles equipped with replacement Takata airbags, but this is far from the first time Takata and Honda have faced issues — and it’s just one facet of an ordeal involving many automakers. In our last blog on the recent airbag recall, we explored the circumstances surrounding the defective replacement airbags. Now, we’ll delve into the broader trend of airbag inflator malfunctions. Airbag Inflator Injuries: By the Numbers The 2018 crash that prompted the latest Takata recall is just one in a series of incidents involving airbag inflators. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety…

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New EPA Restrictions on Methylene Chloride: What Is It and Why Is It Dangerous?

From bathtub refinishing to furniture stripping, methylene chloride takes center stage in a variety of household projects. Increasingly, however, health authorities are alerting the public to the substance’s dangers — and claiming that it’s to blame for a myriad of tragic deaths. What Is Methylene Chloride? Why Should Consumers Avoid It? Sometimes referred to as dichloromethane or DCM, methylene chloride is a solvent used in a wide array of products. It is most commonly seen in paint strippers, but can also be used in adhesives such as acrylic cement. The substance is also sometimes seen in automotive and general cleaning…

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Nootropics: How Safe Are They, Exactly?

In a competitive workforce and academic sphere, employees and students are more desperate than ever to gain an edge on the competition. Several believe that nootropics — drugs specifically designed to enhance cognitive function — represent that edge. Proponents claim that nootropics are highly beneficial and 100 percent safe, but a growing body of research suggests otherwise. Read on to learn more about these drugs — and why experts are sounding the alarm. Defining Nootropics Much of the danger surrounding nootropics lies in the struggle to define and classify these substances. Depending on whom you ask, nootropics could include dietary…

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Is the E-Cigarette Trend Actually an Epidemic?

Cigarette smoking has seen huge declines in the last few decades, only to be replaced by an alarming alternative: e-cigarettes. Marketed as safer, these battery-operated devices allow users to inhale aerosols, which frequently contain nicotine. New data from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that over nine million American adults regularly vape or smoke e-cigarettes. Perhaps more alarmingly, these products are a hit among teenage smokers — and they often serve as a gateway drug to cigarettes or cigars. Experts worry that e-cigarette use has reached epidemic proportions — are their fears overblown? The Dangers of E-Cigarettes While users largely…

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The Surprising Hazards of Scooters

Kids’ toys frequently make headlines because of recalls, faulty parts and choking hazards. There’s something terrifying about the idea that the things we buy for our little ones might harm them in an unforeseen way. This fear is not without merit. Manufacturers, for instance, are not always dogged when it comes to quality control. But choke-y components and unexpectedly sharp pieces aren’t the only scares. In fact, an innocuous-seeming item—the classic children’s scooter—causes a shocking amount of damage. Scooter Injury Statistics The kick scooter surged in popularity around 2000, thanks in large part to marketing efforts from a key manufacturer,…

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Which Pieces of Medical Equipment Frequently Malfunction?

Medical devices serve a vital role. When operated effectively, they preserve patient health, minimize suffering and reduce cost of care. But they don’t always work as intended. In fact, devices fail far more often than most people realize. And these malfunctions cause injuries, accidents, and far too many deaths. Manufacturers insist, doggedly, that their products are safe, even when compelling evidence to the contrary is presented. And although device recalls occur with regularity, they come too late for thousands of patients. Which Devices Are at Risk for Failure? Any device that relies on blood or body monitoring is prone to…

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NHTSA Warns Ford and Mazda Pickup Truck Owners of Dangerous Defect

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a serious warning for vehicle owners with 2006 Ford Ranger and 2006 Mazda B-Series pickup trucks. Both vehicles are under recall because they contain defective Takata airbag inflators, which can rupture and spew metal shrapnel into passenger cabins. The Takata airbag inflators in these vehicles have an increased chance of rupturing. Due to this heightened risk, NHTSA issued a “do not drive warning” for vehicle owners. It is the second time NHTSA issued the warning for Ford and Mazda pickup truck owners. What If I Am Affected by NHTSA’s Do Not Drive…

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Autonomous Car Crashes: What Causes Them?

Some would say it was bound to happen eventually. In March, the ridesharing platform Uber made the news in spectacular fashion when one of its self-driving prototype vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. In theory, at least, autonomous cars are supposed to make us safer because human error gets removed from the equation. This accident underscores that developers may still be far from realizing that goal—and critics have already used the incident as a push to eliminate autonomous vehicles completely. So if autonomous (i.e., self-driving) vehicles are programmed properly, why would they ever be involved in an…

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