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Appeals court rejects challenge to OSHA's silica dust standards

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has rejected a challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's latest safety standards for inhaled silica dust. Business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had argued that OSHA had overstepped its authority and that the rule is not feasible to implement.

Respirable crystalline silica is made up of tiny particles of silica. Much like asbestos, inhaled silica dust has been shown to have human health consequences. Both asbestos and inhaled silica dust can cause pulmonary diseases and lung cancer. Inhaled silica dust can also cause kidney disease, according to OSHA. Asbestos is most widely known for its ability to cause the deadly lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

Chattanooga PD announces DUI numbers, decreased traffic tickets

The Chattanooga Police Department announced recently that traffic citations are down for the fifth consecutive year. Before you get too comfortable, though, be aware that the reduction may be due in part to officer attrition in the traffic division.

"We have officers retiring, and it takes over a year to train someone to replace them. When you lose those people, they may have been some of your performers that might have been producing some of these numbers," said the traffic division's supervisor. "Out of the traffic unit we lost a 28-year officer, who was one of the best we've had."

Problem drinking: 3 things to know about how alcohol impacts safety

Alcohol plays a prominent role in our country's social life, and it's a role that comes with significant risks.

One set of risks involves long-term effects on the body from excessive consumption over a long period of time. Such consumption can cause conditions such as liver damage or diabetes.

More immediately, however, alcohol can also have negatively affect safety in multiple ways. Even a moderate amount can contribute to serious accidents, injuries and deaths from car wrecks, falls and other unwanted occurrences.

Here are three important things to know about how alcohol consumption affects safety.

A DUI can stop you from visiting Canada unless you plan ahead

Did you know that being convicted of DUI in the United States can affect your ability to travel to Canada? Even an old DUI can affect your eligibility. If you're planning to visit our neighbor to the north and have ever been convicted of drunk driving, you will need to take steps to overcome the legal barrier.

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act bans foreign visitors who have been convicted of certain crimes. The offenses that can block admission to Canada include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The process of overcoming criminal inadmissibility depends on the crime you were convicted of and how long it has been since you completed your sentence. Offenses adjudicated in the juvenile courts generally do not affect your ability to enter Canada.

Is there asbestos in your daughter's cosmetic products?

When you take your daughter shopping for cosmetics, you probably assume that the products are safe for use. Unfortunately, there have been recent incidents in which retailers have had to pull make-up products from the shelves because of concerns about asbestos.

Here are some things you should know to keep you and your daughter safe while purchasing cosmetics.

Portable breathalyzers: How well do they work?

Last summer we took note of a pilot program in another state in which people with previous DUI convictions were given portable devices to test their own breath for alcohol content.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and a maker of personal breathalyzers, collaborated on the program. Nearly 500 devices were given away, in the hope of preventing repeat DUI offenses.

The program was called "Before You Go, Know" and ran for six weeks. Several months later, does it appear to be working?

States settle with drugmaker on 'below the neck' marketing claim

The attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia recently settled with German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (BIPI) over allegedly false and misleading off-label marketing claims involving four prescription drugs. Most notably, BIPI touted one drug, Aggrenox, as effective for a variety of conditions "below the neck" such as congestive heart failure and heart attacks.

BIPI also misled Aggrenox users on the comparative effectiveness of the drug. The company said the blood thinner was better than Plavix but had no evidence substantiating that claim.

Regarding another drug, a hypertension drug called Micardis, BIPI allegedly misled patients about its ability to prevent early morning strokes and heart attacks.

BIPI is said to have misrepresented its two drugs Combivent and Atrovent as effective in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Does Uber decrease DUI rates?

Ride-sharing services such as Uber have radically reshaped transportation options in Chattanooga and other cities. Typically cheaper than a city taxi and very convenient, web-based apps for ride hailing have been a game-changer for many millennials - and indeed for other generations as well.

But does Uber really reduce DUI rates, as their website claims?

Chattanooga PD, other law enforcement on increased DUI watch

For many people, celebrations don't feel complete without alcohol. Unfortunately, that can mean a lot of drunk drivers on the road this time of year.

As we've discussed before, the holidays are a peak time for alcohol abuse -- and accidents. Nationwide, 2-1/2 times as many people are killed in alcohol-related crashes than at other times of the year. Last December in Tennessee there were over 500 traffic crashes across the state that involved at least one drunk driver.

Law enforcement in Chattanooga and statewide are teaming up to increase DUI enforcement during the holiday season. The increased enforcement campaign is called "Booze It and Lose It," and it is part of a national campaign, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Was deceptive marketing a catalyst for America's opioid crisis?

One seemingly innocuous phrase may have helped jump start the modern-day opioid abuse epidemic. The statement, used for years in marketing materials for the opiate painkiller OxyContin, implied that the drug was less likely than other similar medications to result in addiction. Specifically, the patient insert included with the drug from the time of its launch in 1996 (until the FDA required revamping in 2001) indicated that:

"Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug."

The problem with this statement is that there is no clinical data or research to support it. Purdue Pharmaceuticals, maker of the drug, included the statement in its promotional and marketing materials without studying the medication's abuse potential.

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