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Farah & Farah December 2016 Newsletter

Posted on December 12, 2016

Toy Truck Explodes in Bed of Real Truck, Leads to Recall

It’s a toy that is supposed to bring thrills and joy to a child, not flames and injury.

The rideable Tonka Mighty Wheels Ride-On dump truck exploded in the back of a real pickup truck when a Washington State couple, Roxsane and Delmond Harden of Bellingham, brought the gift home to their grandson in November.

As a result, Toys “R” Us has pulled the 12-volt truck from its shelves, reports Consumerist. The truck’s lead acid battery produces hydrogen, which is highly flammable, however it’s unusual that it catches fire.

The couple purchased the gift on Black Friday and was driving home when they noticed 20 foot flames igniting in the back of their truck. The inferno was caught on cell phone camera and broadcast on the Seattle television stations. The truck’s owner posted a video on YouTube to show the back of the truck completely charred and its bed interior melted.

A fire truck and two troopers helped extinguish the blaze.

Toys “R” Us has apologized and refunded the cost of the truck.  The small toy truck, that is. No word yet on whether they will also step up and reimburse the couple for their real truck.

Manufacturer, Dynacraft will try and determine the cause of the fire but believes this is an isolated incident.

“The fact that their Tonka Truck is still featured in a video for the company shows it’s not taking the isolated incident too seriously,” said Eddie Farah of Farah & Farah.

Those company assurances are not enough to stop an investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency that oversees the safety of consumer products. The Hardens will meet with representatives from the CPSC to recount their experience and to stress that this dangerous product should not be sold to families.

The Tonka Mighty Wheels truck no doubt will make the annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, put out by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).  For 31 years, the consumer group has identified unsafe toys that have led to more than 150 recalls. It also helps educate the public about the potential hazards in toys.

In all, 44 different toys made the list for 2016.

Consumers can shop for toys by checking Toy Safety Tips here. The Trouble in Toyland 2016 report is here.

It is illegal to resell any of these products so be sure that you don’t buy them at garage sales or second-hand stores or even online.  Many contain lead paint, or parts that can be ingested by small children presenting a choking hazard.  Many of the products are imported from China and elsewhere.  ###

How to Deter Porch Pirates

The Grinch may be visiting your home early this holiday season.

About 23 million Americans had their holiday packages stolen from their homes last year when they were delivered to the front door and no one was home.

This holiday season has the potential to be a bonanza for porch pirates with online shoppers spending $5.27 billion between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.   Cyber Monday brought another $3 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. All of these online sales are very good news for thieves.

What can you do?  Turn to technology to turn away the porch pirates.

Package Guard is a disc that is connected to your home Wi-Fi and sends you an alert when a delivery is placed on it. If that package is lifted from the motion detecting plate without you first disarming it, an extremely loud alarm will sound.

Security cameras, such as Ring, provide a little peace of mind. Also check out Nest, Blink or Kuna. These are high definition home security cameras that stream and record video and send you an alert when someone approaches your door. Some even come with a two-way intercom system.  You might consider pointing one camera to the street so it can record a license place.

Lockboxes are going high tech. The Landport looks like a locker and sits on your front porch. Pricy at $499, the steel box is bolted to the floor and relies on a unique code to open. Place the code in the “special instructions” or “Notification Preferences” box when you order online from Amazon.

iBin is another porch box, though more expensive.

Another option is to have the package delivered to a different location such as a UPS Store or a FedEx location.

Amazon Locker resembles a post office box and a package delivered there must be picked up in three days.  Amazon Lockers are now found in a dozen major US cities, some in 7-11 stores, and can be opened 24 hours.

Slice is an app that tracks packages and sends you email alerts and works with UPS, USPS and FedEx. Parcel is another app that delivers tracking information for USPS, FedEx and OnTrac, so you know when you need to get home.

Also you can request a signature for delivery.

Or simply arrange with a neighbor to bring in the package.  Don’t know one?  In true technology fashion, Nextdoor is a website that connects you to people on your street.

You might find a power washer that way or learn about any porch pirate activity in your neighborhood. And you might actually get to know a neighbor. ###

Transvaginal Mesh Deaths

Unless you have been injured by a medical device or drug, you may not know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a system that is supposed to monitor adverse events, as they are called.

For medical devices, the information can be entered into the MAUDE database (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience), but it does not invite the public with a user-friendly experience.

If an attorney or doctor knows about MAUDE, or MedWatch, another FDA reporting registry, he or she may report an adverse event on behalf of the client/ patient.

But lately we’ve learned that the FDA allows device makers to withhold hundreds of reports of faulty medical devices, and instead allows the device maker to issue one retrospective summary.

The way medical devices are approved, unlike drugs, without premarket approval or any requirement for clinical trials, should undergo an entire overhaul, said the Institute of Medicine in a 2011 report, but it simply hasn’t happened.

Madris Tomes used to work at the FDA. Now she has established Device Events, an online news source where she calculates the numbers being entered into the FDA and reports them in a way everyone can understand.

For example, Essure permanent birth control device, has generated 303 reports of fetal deaths or injuries. The FDA now requires a black box warning label for Essure, the strongest warning concerning serious or life-threatening risks, but it remains on the market.

Transvaginal mesh also remains on the market, despite the numbers.

With more than 25,000 adverse event reports from law offices, 23,000 reports from doctors and over 1,000 from hospitals, Tomes found 1,299 deaths associated with the use of transvaginal mesh or slings. The reports also include mesh that is used for hernia repair.

The FDA itself reported that between 2008 and 2011, there were seven deaths association with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) repair. More than 3,979 reports of injury death and malfunction associated with all gynecological surgical mesh products were reported from 2005 to 2010.

In 2011, the FDA Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Advisory Committee reported three of the deaths were due to the placement of the POP mesh, generally a larger piece of polypropylene (PP) used to shore up descending or dropping pelvic organs.

Tomis says the death reports are likely low because deaths can be reported as injuries or a product malfunction.   It is also unclear how many deaths are related to the use of POP mesh or mesh to treat incontinence, a smaller piece of PP mesh.

There are more than 95,000 defective product lawsuits consolidated in one federal court in Charleston WV and thousands more in state courts and in countries around the world. No one is calculating how many of those women pass on as they wait for the protracted litigation to be resolved.

Without someone closely watching the post-approval use of a medical device, and an increase in post-market surveillance funding, you have more chance of receiving a consumer recall notice on a faulty car part than on your implantable medical device.