Monthly Archives: November 2009

Chinese Drywall Problem May Include American Drywall

The Chinese drywall debacle may not be limited to drywall manufactured and imported from China, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to CPSC officials, some homeowners are complaining of a rotten-egg, sulfurous smell that’s corroding electrical wiring in their homes just like the Chinese drywall. But this time the drywall comes from American manufacturers like National Gypsum and Georgia-Pacific Corporation.
The majority of the problem still stems from drywall that’s been imported from China. Of the 2,100 reported complaints, only 25 complaints confirmed that the suspect drywall was manufactured in the United States. However, this could be the tip of the iceberg for complaints arising from US made drywall. As homeowners rush to have their homes inspected for the Chinese drywall, some may find that the contaminated drywall was made and distributed in the US.

Vioxx Trials Showed Health Risk Years Before

Vioxx, the once popular arthritis drug pulled from the market in 2004, had health risks associated with it at least 4 years prior to its market withdrawal, according to findings published by the Archives of Internal Medicine. This new findings became known after lawsuits were filed against Vioxx manufacturer Merck. Vioxx has been associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The authors of the newly published study noted that the public should have access to such clinical trials in order to make better decisions about their health. “Physicians and the public deserve to be in a position to make informed choices about risk and benefits (of pharmaceutical products),” the authors said.

Chinese Drywall Linked to Corrosion in Homes

A federal agency has confirmed what we’ve suspected for months-some Chinese drywall causes corrosion of electronic devices and appliances in homes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced their findings yesterday as residents affected by the contaminated Chinese drywall scrambled to find solutions to the problem in their homes. CPSC is also investigation reports of health issues related to the Chinese drywall. No definitive determinations have been made at this time.
Some homeowners are considering Chinese drywall lawsuits. At this point, only one manufacturer, Knauf, has agreed to accept service in the litigation. However, the Knauf Chinese drywall lawsuit deadline is pending, December 2, 2009.
CPSC tested 51 homes in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia for contaminated Chinese drywall. So far, the federal agency has logged 2,091 Chinese drywall complaints from 32 states. More than 1,400 complaints were lodged by Florida residents.
At least one elected official has voiced skepticism over CPSC’s findings. Florida US Senator Bill Nelson has been highly critical with the agency’s slow response to the problem. “I’m still disappointed the government is taking too long to establish whether there’s a link between drywall, corrosion and health problems,” he said.

New Bishop Named to Antigonish Diocese

The Canadian diocese rocked by the former bishop’s child porn arrest has received a new bishop. The announcement was made in Rome yesterday just a few short months after former Bishop Raymond Lahey was arrested and charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography.
The new bishop, Brian Dunn, is the former auxiliary bishop of Saul Ste. Marie. Dunn noted that one of the tasks he faces as the new bishop concerns priest sex abuse.
“The issue of sexual abuse is a huge issue. People are really hurt. I’ll try my best to be with them and help them through it as best I can.”

Gadolinium Used in MRI Increases NSF Risk for Liver and Kidney Patients

Gadolinium based contrast agents used to make MRIs easier to read significantly increases the risk of contracting a potentially fatal skin disease known as NSF or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. NSF is characterized by a thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues that leads to difficulty in movement. The disease has no known cure.
According to Reuters, “The Food and Drug Administration said a staff review found the highest risk of the skin disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), was associated with GE Healthcare’s (GE.N) Omniscan, Bayer AG’s (BAYGn.DE) Magnevist and Covidien’s (COV.N) Optimark.”
In 2007, the FDA issued a black box warning for these contrast agents in order to alert physicans treating patients with kidney or liver conditions.
A recent Mayo clinic study found that patients currently receiving hemodialysis treatment were at a 77-fold increased risk for contracting NSF if they received an MRI with the gadolinium contrast agent. Kidney transplant patients were at 69-fold increased risk.
NSF symptoms may include high blood pressure, itching or burning skin, skin discoloration or reddening, hip or bone pain, and muscle weakness.

Zicam Lawsuit Update

New scientific research from the University of Washington has revealed that Zicam use can permanently damage the nasal tissues leading to a partial or full loss of the sense of smell. The new findings were published on the Public Library of Science website.
Zicam Cold Remedy was pulled from the market on June 15, 2009 after the FDA received reports of Zicam users losing their sense of smell. Zincum gluconicum, the active ingredient in Zicam, has also been linked to a caustic effect on the nasal passages, which if used over a length of time can cause a loss of the sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia.

Credibly Accused of Sex Abuse Former Rochester Priest Lives in Tampa Bay

The Catholic Diocese of Rochester has found credible allegations made against a retired priest who had served in the Diocese of Rochester since 1955. Rev.Conrad Sundholm, according to the news article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, now lives within the confines of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. A SNAP press release noted that Sundholm lives in St. Petersburg but that’s not entirely clear from the Post-Standard story upon which the press release is based. The Diocese of St. Petersburg encompasses five counties on the west coast of Florida: Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties. It is also unclear from the press release or the Post-Standard story if the accused priest ever worked in the Diocese of St. Petersburg after retiring in 1999.
The release from the Diocese of Rochester states that, “An allegation concerning sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the mid-1970s against Rev. Conrad Sundholm, a retired priest now living in Florida, has been determined to be credible.”
I’ve previously written in this blog about the NY-Florida connection of priests accused of the sexual abuse of children. There are quite a number of former NY Catholic priests who moved to Florida after having abused minors in NY. In some cases, the priests abused again when stationed in Florida.
Presently, the NY State Legislature is considering legislation, “The Child Victim Act” which would provide a window in which NY survivors of sexual abuse could pursue their sexual abusers in civil court.

Zicam Shareholder Class Action Lawsuit Revived

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has restored a shareholder class action lawsuit against Matrixx Initiatives officials. The original lawsuit alleged that Matrixx officials knew about Zicam’s association with anosmia or loss of smell. The lawsuit further alleged that besides knowing that Zicam may cause anosmia, Matrixx officials made false and misleading statements about their cold remedy product Zicam in order to improve sales.
“According to Matrixx’s own SEC filings,” shareholders claimed, “from late 2003 through October 2004 Matrixx has been sued by approximately 284 individuals in 19 different lawsuits alleging that Zicam caused damage to their sense of smell.”
In reversing the lower court dismissal of the Zicam class action lawsuit, one of the three judges, Judge Tashima noted that there was a strong “inference” that top company offiicials knew about the Zicam lawsuits and failed to disclose such to shareholders.

Former Hockey Star Talks About Sexual Abuse as a Teen

To the outside world, Theo Fleury was a flashy Canadian hockey star who had it all. He’d been named to several NHL All-Star teams, won the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, and made a ton of money doing what he loved. Yet, the inner world of Theo Fleury was filled with torment and anguish. All the while he was playing professional hockey, he carried with him the burden of being sexually abused by his mentor and hockey coach, Graham James. He tried to put the sexual abuse behind him and forget about it by abusing drugs and alcohol. He’d even attempted suicide by putting a loaded gun in his mouth in 2004.
Finally, this year he revealed the secret burden that had been tormenting him for years. He’d been sexually abused by his coach when Fleury was 14 years old. The abuse lasted two long years. Now, at the age of 41, Fleury is ready to deal with the sexual abuse issue that fueled his dependency on drugs and alcohol, shortened his hockey career, and wrecked a marriage. Even after writing his autobiography in which he recounts the abuse, Fleury is still uneasy about discussing the issue. In an interview about the book, Fleury told the press that he decided to talk about his own abuse in order to help other victims deal with sexual abuse issues when they were teenagers. Playing with Fire has lead some abuse survivors to reach out to Fleury and seek professional help themselves. Fleury says he is committed to helping other abuse victims and is contemplating bringing criminal charges against his former coach.
Unfortunately, this is not a new story. Fleury’s story received media attention because of Theo Fleury’s fame as a tough hockey player. There are thousands of other sexual abuse survivors who continue to suffer in silence. Some, like Fleury, have contemplated or committed suicide. Hopefully, the courage of this new revelation will encourage other survivors to end their silent suffering and seek help.

Chinese Drywall Detection in Your Home

Chinese drywall has been conspicuous in the news for the past year. It has affected thousands of homes constructed during the housing boom earlier this decade. So, if you’re a homeowner and your home was build during that time, how do you know if you have Chinese drywall. There are some signs of the drywall that may give you an indication that the contaminated drywall is present in your home. Check your electrical fixtures. Are they corroded? Do they appear black? Is there a rotten egg smell in parts of your home? These may indicate the presence of Chinese drywall. You may also want to check with your building contractor to see if the contractor is able to tell you what type of drywall was used in constructing your home. A building inspector may also be helpful in determining the presence of Chinese drywall. If you have the drywall and your home has been affected, you should contact a Chinese drywall lawyer immediately to learn about your legal options.