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Sen. Maria Collet Proposes a Bill to Allow Towns to BAN Firearms on Public Property

Sen. Maria Collet Proposes a Bill to Allow Towns to BAN Firearms on Public Property | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A proposed bill from a Montgomery County lawmaker would let towns ban firearms on public property without fear of a lawsuit from organizations like the National Rifle Association.

 

Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, said this week her bill primarily gives local officials authority to keep firearms out of public meeting spaces, but would not effect private gun ownership.

 

The bill, for which Collett is currently seeking co-sponsorship from other senators, came after a letter from Horsham’s council in January.

 

The letter from Horsham referenced a shooting in Paradise Township, in Pocono County, in November and another 2013 shooting in Ross Township, Monroe County.

 

David Green, 72, confessed to shooting and killing Paradaise Zoning Officer Mike Triptus, 65, the morning of Nov. 27 in Triptus’ office.

 

Rockne Newell, a Ross Township resident with a long-running feud with officials over a property he owned, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences – one for each victim – after opening fire at a supervisors’ meeting on Aug. 5, 2013.

 

“In light of these recent tragedies and amidst a groundswell of public support, it is clearly time to update our laws to bolster local elected officials’ ability to keep their constituents safe,” Collett said in a news release earlier this month.

 

The letter points out that state courthouses and the General Assembly prohibit guns, and says local governments should have the same ability.

 

“Guns are not permitted in Pennsylvania courthouses, nor are they permitted in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg,” the letter states.

 

“Is the protection of our judges and legislators of more concern than the protection of the children who use our parks and libraries?” [Not to mention Township Supervisors!]

 

Collett said her bill was an an answer to Horsham’s question, and it was “a resounding ‘no’.”

 

Municipalities locally and statewide repealed firearm ordinances following the passage of Act 192 in 2015; a law primarily aimed at penalizing scrap metal theft, but included a clause allowing organizations to challenge local gun laws.

 

The provision essentially said the state’s firearm laws preempted municipal ordinances, and Horsham was one of many towns to repeal its ordinance banning firearms in parks to avoid a potential lawsuit.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony”; http://sco.lt/5tmtpA
  • “Governor Wolf Responds to Newtown Township's Gun Safety Resolution”; http://sco.lt/6ijkGn
  • “State Rep. Perry Warren's House Bill 1400 Would Strengthen Gun Background Check System”; http://sco.lt/7bEjFB
johnmacknewtown's insight:

From Senator Maria Collett (source: Senate Co-Sponsorship Memorandum): Pennsylvania law currently prohibits local governments from regulating the possession and transportation of firearms and ammunition. In light of recent tragedies in Paradise and Ross Townships and a groundswell of public support, it is clearly time to update our laws. To quote the members of Horsham Council, a municipality in my district: "Is the protection of our judges and legislators of more concern than the protection of the children who use our parks and libraries?" I believe we must answer their question with a resounding no.

 

Everyone in our communities should be able to access a trail, play at a park, learn in a library, or have their voice heard at a meeting of their local government without the fear of becoming another victim of gun violence. The Commonwealth shouldn’t stand between local elected officials and their constituents on matters of public safety.

 

This legislation will only apply if a political subdivision elects to restrict the presence or use of firearms and posts public notices of such restrictions at every public entrance to the facility or property. This legislation will bolster the freedom of local governments and help to keep all Commonwealth residents safe without impeding on Second Amendment rights.

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These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. They focus on public health issues such as opioid addiction, water and air quality, environmental issues, emergency services, traffic, crime, etc. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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​Large Turnout for Gun Violence Awareness Day in Newtown

​Large Turnout for Gun Violence Awareness Day in Newtown | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Members of local faith communities and other organizations joined in a Gun Violence Awareness Day action on Sunday afternoon, November 10th in Newtown. They gathered at the Newtown Friends Meetinghouse and walked along State Street and Sycamore Street to the Macedonia Baptist Church were more than 200 people observed a Memorial to the Lost for those who died of gun violence in Bucks County.

 

The event was sponsored by Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence and co-sponsored by local organizations, including several churches, Jewish congregations, Quaker meetings, a Muslim foundation, and a Buddhist sangha.

 

In addition to the signs people carried on the Witness Walk, they held up framed memorial t-shirts displaying the name, birth date, and date of death of 41 Bucks County residents. The t-shirts had been posted in the church yards of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Nativity, Wrightstown, and the Macedonia Baptist Church in Newtown.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony”; http://sco.lt/5tmtpA
  • “Governor Wolf Responds to Newtown Township's Gun Safety Resolution”; http://sco.lt/6ijkGn
  • “State Rep. Perry Warren's House Bill 1400 Would Strengthen Gun Background Check System”; http://sco.lt/7bEjFB

 

Council Rock High School students commented in favor of a gun safety resolution before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors at a June 13, 2018, public meeting. View the video.

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Newtown Ambulance Squad honors area first-responders for saving life of cardiac-arrest patient

Newtown Ambulance Squad honors area first-responders for saving life of cardiac-arrest patient | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

At the Nov. 13 board of supervisors’ meeting, the Newtown Ambulance Squad presented citations to eight first responders who saved the life of a cardiac-arrest patient who collapsed at a local business in September.

Evan Resnikoff, chief of operations for the non-profit rescue squad, presented the citations to the members of three area medic teams for responding and successfully resuscitating a person who had a heart attack at Tanner’s Lawn and Snow Equipment rental store on Washington Crossing Road in Newtown Township on Sept. 28.

“This is an example of how emergency services working as a team has a good outcome,” Resnikoff stated, noting that the person survived and was later released from the hospital.

Those honored were: Chief Matthew Gerhard and Battalion Chief Perry LaRosa, along with firefighters Warren Dallas and Thomas Tanner, all members of the Newtown Fire Association.

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PA DEP Names Bergey’s Tires as Source of PFAS Contamination: "We're Dealing with it right in our own backyard," Says Resident.

PA DEP Names Bergey’s Tires as Source of PFAS Contamination: "We're Dealing with it right in our own backyard," Says Resident. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

After three years of investigating, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has identified Bergey’s Tires as the source of toxic chemicals in private drinking water wells in a Bucks County community.

 

The DEP has been investigating the drinking water in East and West Rockhill Townships since 2016, when regulators detected elevated levels of a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS in a public well in the nearby Ridge Run community.

 

That led investigators to sample 150 private wells in the surrounding area, and regulators identified 14 with levels of PFOA and PFOS — two of the most common and well-studied PFAS chemicals — above the EPA health advisory of 70 parts per trillion.

 

PFAS have been linked with health conditions, including high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, and certain cancers.

 

The agency did not identify a source, even when neighbors pointed to the nearby tire company where there was a massive tire fire in 1986.

 

Accounts of the fire depict a blaze that raged for 20 hours with 20-foot flames and required 30 fire companies to bring it under control — including those from military air bases in Warminster and Horsham, where PFAS-laced firefighting foam was used. Regulators have known since 2014 that the foam used on the military bases contaminated drinking water in nearby communities in Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington.

 

On Tuesday, the DEP backed up residents’ claims and, after an extensive investigation, pointed to the Bergey’s location as the source of the chemicals and the company as a “potentially responsible entity” under the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

From the BCCT: In July 2018, this news organization ran an investigation revealing that during a 1986 tire fire at a Bergey's property nearby, fire crews from the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster arrived and attempted to use foams to douse the large inferno. The foams, which were ineffective for the fire, from that era were known to contain PFAS.

 

The initial reaction Tuesday from resident Angela Goodwin, one of the impacted property owners whose backyard directly abuts the area of the fire at Bergey's, was anger at all parties involved. Goodwin said she was frustrated with the pace of the investigation.

 

"So now we're determining it's coming from Bergey's, but we're not making them do anything," Goodwin said, incredulously. "I'm just done."

 

Goodwin said in addition to her drinking water contamination, the DEP recently sampled soil in her yard and found it too contained PFAS. But she said she was told by the DEP that there are currently no soil standards for PFAS, leaving her in a place where she has knowledge but no course of action.

 

"We're dealing with it right in our own backyard," Goodwin said, adding she was frustrated to the point of considering legal action.

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PA Atty General Shapiro Preparing to Take ‘Legal action’ Against Companies Tied to PFAS in Drinking Water

PA Atty General Shapiro Preparing to Take ‘Legal action’ Against Companies Tied to PFAS in Drinking Water | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office is preparing to take “legal action” against companies that have manufactured firefighting foams, which contain chemical ingredients that have contaminated water supplies in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

 

As previously reported, firefighting foams used widely by the military have for decades contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Health experts worry that the man-made chemicals worry can cause health effects including high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, immunotoxicity, reproductive harms, and some cancers.

 

The chemicals were discovered in nationally high amounts in the Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington water supplies in 2014, eventually forcing the closure of more than 15 public water wells and hundreds of private water wells.

 

The Department of Defense has taken significant responsibility, admitting it used the firefighting foams as far back as 1970 at the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, and active Horsham Air Guard Station.

 

The military has spent tens of millions of dollars to date investigating PFAS at the bases and providing filters for drinking water contaminated above a safety level recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

But in addition, the three heavily impacted towns have since implemented “zero tolerance” plans to remove the chemicals below the EPA level, down to non-detectable levels. The military did not agree to those costs, leaving the towns on the hook for millions of dollars in annual costs. Residents are also still left wondering what the health effects may be. [Read “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”]

 

“We know companies sold and distributed chemicals containing (PFAS) in Pennsylvania that are now impacting our water and our communities,” Shapiro said in an emailed response to questions. “We intend to take appropriate legal action to ensure these companies take responsibility.”

 

Companies that manufactured firefighting foam have already been widely targeted by private attorneys representing area residents, the three local water authorities, as well as other communities across the country suffering similar contaminations. Typical defendants are The 3M Co., Tyco Fire Products, Angus Fire, Buckeye Fire Protection Co., Chemguard and National Foam.

 

In May, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed his own suit against several of those companies, and also sued DuPont, corporate spinoff Chemours, and Kidde-Fenwal.

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Guest Opinion: PFAS Crisis Calls for Nonpartisan Support of Setting Lower Maximum Contamination Levels

Guest Opinion: PFAS Crisis Calls for Nonpartisan Support of Setting Lower Maximum Contamination Levels | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

By Breana Hashman, a staff scientist and program manager with the Clean Water Action/Fund, an environmental advocacy group that organizes grassroots support for environmentally focused political candidates.

 

Drinking water contamination in Bucks and Montgomery counties reminds us all that environmental pollution represents an intrinsic threat to public health that is receiving attention from Republican and Democratic politicians alike at the state and federal level.

 

As residents in Bucks and Montgomery have found out, not all potentially harmful chemicals are tested, regulated, or remediated before being provided to the public through private wells or public utility authorities. This leaves communities vulnerable to vast numbers of under-studied, potentially toxic chemical compounds that are contaminating our groundwater and waterways. As our society develops and produces new chemicals to keep pace with business innovation, industry can often release massive amounts of contaminants into the environment or marketplace before the scientific community can fully assess potential long-term risks to public health or drinking water sources.

 

It is encouraging that studies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are starting to receive more funding, like the grant recently approved for researchers from Temple University’s College of Public Health. [Read “Temple Researcher, Local Group Awarded Grant to Support Research Into Health Effects of PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7YYrkv]

 

Science may not yet be able to predict an individual’s health risks from exposure to PFAS, but in the interim, we have a pretty good idea what communities could potentially face, based on epidemiology studies from around the world. These studies have shown that communities with long-term chronic PFAS exposure from contaminated drinking water tend to have higher than national rates for a number of chronic or life-altering diseases.

 

This is enough evidence to warrant interim measures for these communities, such as temporary lowered maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water that were enacted by municipal water authorities in Warrington, Warminister and Horsham. When enforced, this temporary standard should help protect the exposed communities in Bucks and Montgomery counties while the DEP goes through the process of developing an MCL for Pennsylvania. However, the plume of groundwater contamination is spreading to new regions in these counties, the MCL used is not inclusive of all potentially toxic PFAS chemicals, and the associated costs of meeting these standards falls on municipal water authorities and their ratepayers — not by the military installations responsible for polluting groundwater with PFAS.

 

Contamination of drinking water with PFAS-laden firefighting foam may have originated as an environmental issue, but the effects on public health are clear — who would make supporting these poisoned communities a partisan issue? Clean drinking water is a basic human right that all constituents should expect and receive, no matter their political beliefs. If legislators reflect the values of their voters, then this is a resource that all politicians should want to protect.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous”; http://sco.lt/8k1yzI
  • “Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7JCbGy
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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Could a New Jersey Dirt Microbe Clean Up PFAS Contaminating Local Drinking Water?

Could a New Jersey Dirt Microbe Clean Up PFAS Contaminating Local Drinking Water? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Researchers at Princeton University have discovered that a bacterium found in New Jersey’s acidic soils has the potential to destroy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The toxic, man-made chemicals are the culprits behind an increasing number of drinking water crises across the United States, including widespread contamination in southeast Pennsylvania and at several sites across New Jersey.

 

One of the biggest problems with PFAS is that the chemicals are built on a carbon-fluorine bond, one of the strongest in chemistry. It makes the chemicals nearly indestructible, with no known natural processes that can completely break them down.

 

“They have been viewed typically as non-biodegradable,” said Peter Jaffé, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton.

 

In a series of lab tests, a relatively common soil bacterium has demonstrated its ability to break down the difficult-to-remove class of pollutants called PFAS, researchers at Princeton University said.

 

The bacterium, Acidimicrobium bacterium A6, removed 60% of PFAS - specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) - in lab vials over 100 days of observation, the researchers reported in a Sept. 18 article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

 

What’s more, his team was able to ascertain that the microbe wasn’t just breaking PFOA down to “smaller” PFAS chemicals that still contained the carbon-fluorine bond, which is a concern for other known treatment methods. A6 was actually breaking the bond and creating free-floating fluoride molecules.

 

They ultimately looked at 20 different kinds of PFAS structures, and found that none escaped A6′s appetite.

 

“We could see that all of them we could defluorinate,” Jaffé said, stifling a smile. “Which is ... novel.”bond, these chemicals are extremely difficult to remove through conventional means.

 

Further Reading:

  • “PA Incinerator & Landfills Won't Accept PFAS Waste from Filters That the State is Helping to Fund!”; http://sco.lt/4jSppA
  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
johnmacknewtown's insight:

The way things are going, microbes will be doing the job the U.S. Navy can’t or won’t do. Read “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk and “Bucks County Courier Times Gives Navy a “Thumbs Down” for Ducking PFAS Contamination Culpability”; http://sco.lt/75pQMC

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Purdue Pharma Has Some Cojones: Wants to Continue to Sell Opioids But Hand Offer Profits to States Fighting Opioid Epidemic While Sackler Family Keeps Billions

Purdue Pharma Has Some Cojones: Wants to Continue to Sell Opioids But Hand Offer Profits to States Fighting Opioid Epidemic While Sackler Family Keeps Billions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday — the first expected step of a tentative agreement that the company reached last week to settle thousands of lawsuits related to its alleged involvement in the opioid epidemic.

 

As part of the settlement, Purdue agreed to file for bankruptcy and effectively dissolve. If all goes as planned, a new company will form and continue selling OxyContin, with the sales revenue going to plaintiffs in the settlement. Purdue will also donate drugs for treating addiction and overdoses.

 

[According to the LATimes: The plan calls for turning Purdue into a “public benefit trust” that would continue selling opioids but hand its profits over to those who have sued the company. The Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue and contribute at least $3 billion toward the settlement.]

 

The settlement does not involve a statement of wrongdoing. Purdue is accused of aggressively — and misleadingly — marketing its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, helping fuel an opioid crisis that has contributed to the more than 700,000 drug overdose deaths in the US since 1999.

 

[@PAAttorneyGen Josh Shapiro tweeted: “This bankruptcy filing is another attempt by the Sacklers to run away from responsibility & avoid paying for the #OpioidEpidemic they engineered. This family has moved all of the value out of Purdue Pharma and into their own pockets.”]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

What's interesting to note is that the "deal" offers $4 billion worth of drugs, "some used to save people who have overdosed."

 

It just so happens that Purdue is seeking approval of a new drug to treat overdoses.

 

In March 2019, Purdue announced (read "After pushing addictive OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose antidote") that the US Food and Drug Administration "has granted fast-track status to its investigational drug nalmefene hydrochloride (HCl), an injectable, emergency treatment intended to rescue people suspected of having an opioid overdose. Purdue suggests that nalmefene HCl’s effects last longer than the similar emergency opioid antagonist naloxone. As such, the company hopes nalmefene HCl will out-compete naloxone at reversing overdoses from the most highly potent opioid, namely fentanyl..."

 

So, consider this Purdue's - and the Sacler's - opportunity to again profit from the Opioid Epidemic by getting in the market for drugs to treat the problem it helped cause!

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The EPA is No Longer in the Business of Safeguarding Our Resources and Protecting Us From Pollution

The EPA is No Longer in the Business of Safeguarding Our Resources and Protecting Us From Pollution | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Trump administration on Thursday announced repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had expanded pollution protections for waterways such as wetlands and shallow streams, but that farmers, miners and manufacturers decried as overreach.

 

The widely anticipated move to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS, is part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump to roll back environmental regulations to boost industry. Environmental groups called the move “shameful and dangerous.”

 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the EPA and the U.S. Army would reinstate water rules that were issued in the 1980s, and would begin re-defining which waterways can be regulated, a task to be completed by this winter.

 

President Barack Obama’s Waters of the United States rule had defined which streams and wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act from pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers and mine waste. Farmers and industry groups had said the rule went too far, impeding their operations by extending restrictions to small, un-navigable waters.

 

Environmental groups have said the Obama rule was necessary to protect drinking water sources at risk from agri-business and industry.

 

Earthjustice and other environmental groups on Thursday warned that the Trump administration repeal will threaten drinking water and weaken safeguards that help reduce flooding and filter out pollution from streams and wetlands.

 

“President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water. This is shameful and dangerous,” said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Trump’s plan for the economy: Make Drinking Water Dirty Again

From the Washington Post:

 

"This latest case involved the bodies of water the federal government can protect under the Clean Water Act, which makes it illegal to pollute a “water of the United States” without a permit. An Obama administration rule clarified that “waters of the United States” include streams and wetlands that feed larger waterways, including those used for drinking water.

 

"The government cost-benefit analysis it produced at the time found that this rule produced net economic benefits.

The Trump administration’s cost-benefit analysis, however, came to the opposite conclusion — chiefly because it abruptly decided that the largest category of benefits previously attributed to the rule could no longer be quantified at all. (The Trump administration said the research that had been used to quantify the benefits of protecting wetlands was too old, even though it cited even older research elsewhere in the same report.)

 

"Therefore, these benefits were effectively assigned a value of zero. Voila, the rule must go."

 

I guess this means Newtown Township will not have to implement its Watershed Pollution Reduction Plan to reduce pollution of three “impaired watersheds” that were previously identified by the EPA for pollution reduction:

 

  1. Neshaminy Creek – Nutrients and Sediments
  2. Lake Luxembourg – Nutrients and Sediments
  3. Core Creek - Sediments
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Oxycontin Maker Purdue Backs Out of Deal to Settle Lawsuits and Will Seek Bankruptcy to Avoid Going to Trial

Oxycontin Maker Purdue Backs Out of Deal to Settle Lawsuits and Will Seek Bankruptcy to Avoid Going to Trial | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller OxyContin, is expected to file for bankruptcy after attempts to reach a settlement over its role in the opioid crisis came to a standstill, state attorneys general involved in the talks said Saturday.

 

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue, rejected two offers and declined to make counteroffers, according to an email from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein that was obtained by the Associated Press.

 

"As a result, the negotiations are at an impasse, and we expect Purdue to file for bankruptcy protection imminently," Slatery and Stein wrote.

 

Chapter 11 protection would greatly reduce Purdue’s legal liability in the nationwide lawsuit to approximately $1 billion from up to $12 billion, according to a proposal that recently became public. The company had threatened to file for bankruptcy earlier this year and was holding off while negotiations continued.

 

At least 30 states and 2,000 state, local and tribal governments have filed lawsuits claiming the pharmaceutical company is responsible for the nationwide opioid crisis. The lawsuits — which have also been filed by unions, hospitals, and lawyers representing babies who were born in opioid withdrawal — have been consolidated under a single federal judge in Cleveland.

 

The impasse in the talks comes about six weeks before the scheduled start of the first federal trial under the Cleveland litigation, overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster. That trial will hear claims about the toll the opioid epidemic has taken on two Ohio counties, Cuyahoga and Summit.

 

A bankruptcy filing by Purdue would most certainly remove the company from that trial.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Stories:

  • “To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids”; http://sco.lt/9CyCmW
  • Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f
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Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?

Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

It’s been five years since the military first discovered widespread PFAS contamination at bases in Bucks and Montgomery counties, but the chemicals continue to pollute the aquifer and waterways like Park Creek and the Little Neshaminy. We asked more than half a dozen experts a simple question: Why?

 

In February 2017, after listening to military officials talk for more than an hour about ongoing environmental pollution in his hometown of Horsham, state Rep. Todd Stephens’ frustrations boiled over.

 

Representatives of the Navy and Air National Guard had just freely admitted that toxic firefighting chemicals continued to pour off the former Naval Air Station Joint-Reserve Base Willow Grove and into surrounding waterways. It had been three years since major contamination was first discovered, and Stephens, R-151, wanted to know why the military still hadn’t contained it.

 

“It is beyond my comprehension that these unbelievably talented and bright individuals can’t figure out how to stop polluting our water ... and still don’t even have a timeline,” Stephens said of the military’s array of contractors and engineers.

 

Years later, little has changed around the Willow Grove base, nor at the hundreds of other military bases across the country where per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has been found. With the exception of some limited cleanup efforts at Willow Grove, as well as at other high-profile facilities, the military is still where it was before: studying the contamination, but largely leaving it in place.

 

This news organization spent a year reviewing military documents and talking to legal and environmental experts to determine why the military isn’t cleaning up. The effort led through a dizzying maze of regulations and policies, but ultimately ended at a simple answer: Nobody is forcing the military’s hand, and perhaps nobody can.

 

The Department of Defense estimates its cleanup costs could reach $2 billion, and it’s spending tens of millions of dollars studying cost-effective treatment systems and other technologies that could help. Nathan Frey, a policy advisor with the environmental law firm Marten Law, says the DOD appears to be wary that taking a cleanup action at one base before it’s ready could set a precedent for others.

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According to Recently Unsealed Documents, Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson Had a Cozy Opioid Drug Marketing Arrangement

According to Recently Unsealed Documents, Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson Had a Cozy Opioid Drug Marketing Arrangement | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

For years, Purdue Pharma has maintained that it can’t be blamed for the overdose crisis that unfolded after its introduction of OxyContin—but a trove of new evidence suggests that the company was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the opioid epidemic.

 

As early as 2000, Purdue collaborated with pain patient advocacy groups and professional pain management organizations to create what former president Richard Sackler called a “pain movement.” The company also allegedly worked with competitor and opioid maker Johnson & Johnson, which was recently found liable for contributing to the opioid crisis in Oklahoma, in an effort to create a “pain management franchise.” In addition, company executives appear to have met with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to discuss possible collaborations.

 

These revelations come from new exhibits in the federal litigation bundling roughly 2,000 cases against opioid makers and distributors that is set to go to trial in October. The plaintiffs allege that the pharmaceutical companies worked together in a conspiracy to sell more opioids, an allegation that the defendants vigorously deny. Under the terms of a recently-leaked settlement proposal, Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, may soon settle all the claims brought against the company by thousands of state and federal lawsuits.

 

Collaborating with Johnson & Johnson to create a “Pain Management Franchise”

 

According to the court documents, as early as 2000, Purdue began working with Johnson & Johnson, whose pharmaceutical subsidiaries sold opioids Duragesic and Ultram, on a “co-promotion agreement” in which sales representatives would promote both companies’ opioid products. The ultimate goal, according to a J&J presentation, was to “Build a partnership between Purdue Pharma LP and J&J that leverages each partner’s assets and capabilities to create a Pain Management Franchise that is significantly larger and more profitable than that which the partners could build on their own.”

 

The co-promotion agreement never came to fruition, but evidence suggests that the companies instructed their sales representatives not to attack the others’ brands. In 2001, after an executive from J&J subsidiary Janssen complained that Purdue’s sales representatives were telling doctors about the abuse of Janssen’s opioid, Duragesic, a Purdue executive instructed Purdue’s sales force not to discuss abuse and diversion of OxyContin or Duragesic. If they did, the letter stated, there would be consequences: “Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Purdue have agreed that should either company have representatives who promote product out of label or out of policy, the name of the representative will be provided to the other company for investigation and disciplinary action if needed.”

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  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”: http://sco.lt/6wb24f
  • “Purdue Pharma Lawsuit Apparently Shows the Drug Company Wanted to Capitalize on Opioid Addiction Treatment, Report Says”; http://sco.lt/8xl9bF
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What Lies Ahead After OK Opioid Judgement That J&J Intentionally Played Down the Dangers of Opioids?

What Lies Ahead After OK Opioid Judgement That J&J Intentionally Played Down the Dangers of Opioids? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Oklahoma’s $572-million judgment against Johnson & Johnson will likely be followed by more trials and legal settlements seeking to hold a drug company accountable for a U.S. opioid crisis that has ripped apart lives and communities. [Read “Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million in Landmark Opioid Trial”; http://sco.lt/7ldAVU]

 

Monday’s ruling could help shape negotiations over roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state, local and tribal governments consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio. And as the legal cases against the opioid industry accelerate, so do concerns about how the money from verdicts or settlements will be spent. [“Big Question in Opioid Suits: How to Divide Any Settlement”; http://sco.lt/63SYIi ]

 

Q: What happened leading up to the Oklahoma judgment?

 

Oklahoma’s public nuisance lawsuit against several drugmakers and their subsidiaries was the first in the wave of opioid litigation to make it to trial. Before the start of the six-week trial in May, Oklahoma reached a $270 million deal with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and an $85 million settlement with Teva, both of which faced criticism from state lawmakers, who argued they have control over dispersing funds. The Purdue settlement calls for about $200 million to go into a trust to fund an addiction studies center at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

 

The remaining defendants, Johnson & Johnson and some of its subsidiaries, proceeded to trial.

 

Q: What makes the cases legally complicated?

 

A: There are dozens of defendants and thousands of plaintiffs with different interests. State and local governments are battling over control of any settlement money before any national deals have been reached.

 

In Oklahoma, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has told the state that the federal government is entitled to a portion of Oklahoma’s proceeds from its settlement with Purdue. Several local governments refused to participate in the lawsuit against Purdue so they could pursue their own, while others have criticized how most of the settlement money from that case is being spent.

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Dogs Help Sniff Out Invasive Plants

Dogs Help Sniff Out Invasive Plants | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Dia, a Labrador retriever, uses her sense of smell to find Scotch broom, an invasive species, in Harriman State Park in Tuxedo, N.Y., Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. The nonprofit New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has trained Dia to find Scotch broom plants in two state parks 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of New York City. The invasive shrub is widespread in the Pacific Northwest but new to New York, and land managers hope to eradicate it before it gets established.

 

The shrub, which displaces native plants with thickets impenetrable to wildlife, is a widespread noxious weed in the Pacific Northwest but is fairly new to New York. Land managers hope to eradicate it before it becomes widespread.

 

“If we had to find all these plants ourselves, combing the grass for every tiny plant, it would take so much longer — and we’d still miss a lot,” Beese said on a recent morning after Dia showed him hundreds of Scotch broom shoots hidden in a field of tall grass and sweetfern.

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Residents Report “Suspicious” Persons to Newtown Police

Residents Report “Suspicious” Persons to Newtown Police | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

According to the Newtown Police Incident Blotter for the week of November 8 through 14, 2019, at least 4 “suspicious” person sightings were reported to the police out of a total of 11 incidents for that week.

 

November 10, 2019

Shortly before 7:30 pm police were dispatched to the area of Diamond Drive for the report of a suspicious person. According to the complainant, a male wearing a grey hoodie was seen walking around in the area while smoking a cigarette. The complainant observed the same male walking around that morning as well. Police checked the area and did not locate the male.

 

November 12, 2019

At 5:05 pm police responded to the area of High Street for the report of a suspicious male in his 20’s that was walking around the neighborhood possibly taking pictures of homes. When approached by the complainant, the male claimed to be a solicitor for a window company, but he was not knocking on any doors. Police searched the area with negative contact.

 

November 14, 2019

Around 1:30 am police responded to a Walton Court residence for the report of suspicious people outside. Upon arrival, police checked the area with no contact. Police spoke with the complainant who stated that everything was okay and that police were no longer needed.

 

At approximately 7:00 pm police responded to the area of South Drive and Thistle Lane for the report of a suspicious person. According to the complainant, a teen dressed in all black with a backpack was riding his bike through the area. Patrol searched the area with negative results.

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October 2019 Newtown Township Police Report: Peak Season for "Struck Deer" & Domestic Abusers Must Surrender Guns!

October 2019 Newtown Township Police Report: Peak Season for "Struck Deer" & Domestic Abusers Must Surrender Guns! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn presented the Calls Report for October 2019 at the November 13, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting. The following is a summary. Note: Not all calls are listed.

 

In October, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,803 total calls, 372 (21%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships).

 

Act 29 Non-Compliance

 

ACT 79 Non-Compliance is a new category added to the “disturbances” section of the Police Report. This act went into effect on April 10, 2019 and deals primarily with increased safety provisions related to firearms in both Protection from Abuse and misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to help prevent domestic violence homicides.

 

Gov. Wolf said: “The incidents of domestic violence where guns are involved in our commonwealth prove that this commonsense law is an important step to protect victims of domestic abuse, save lives, and hold abusers accountable for their actions.”

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Top Toxicologist Banned From Saying #PFAS Causes Disease. She Says the Data is "Pretty Clear" in Relation to Immune Response, Kidney Cancer, and Cholesterol in Humans

Top Toxicologist Banned From Saying #PFAS Causes Disease. She Says the Data is "Pretty Clear" in Relation to Immune Response, Kidney Cancer, and Cholesterol in Humans | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

THE WIDESPREAD ENVIRONMENTAL contaminants known as PFAS cause multiple health problems in people, according to Linda Birnbaum, who retired as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program earlier this month.

 

The statement may come as little surprise to those following the medical literature on the industrial chemicals that have been used to make nonstick coatings, firefighting foam, and host of other products. Thousands of scholarly articles have linked the chemicals to at least 800 health effects. Some of the health problems found in humans — including elevated cholesterol levels, liver dysfunction, weight gain, reproductive problems and kidney cancer — have been shown to increase along with the levels of the chemicals in blood. Extensive research also shows that children with higher levels of PFAS have weakened immune responses.

 

Yet while she was leading the NIEHS, a division of the National Institutes of Health, whose mission is “to discover how the environment affects people, in order to promote healthier lives,” Birnbaum was not allowed to use the word “cause” when referring to the health effects from PFAS or other chemicals.

 

“I was banned from doing it,” said Birnbaum. “I had to use ‘association’ all the time. If I was talking about human data or impacts on people, I had to always say there was an association with a laundry list of effects.” Birnbaum said this restriction “was coming from the office of the deputy director. His job hinged on controlling me.” Birnbaum also said that the Trump administration has recently begun coordinating its messaging on PFAS.

 

Association, the coincidence of a chemical exposure and disease, and causation, in which a health problem happens as the result of the exposure, are different. Because many factors, including chance and genetics and exposures to other substances, can influence the development of disease, the term “cause” is used rarely and cautiously in the field of environmental health.

 

But Birnbaum, who has studied PFAS compounds for decades, believes the global contaminants have cleared that high bar. “In my mind, PFAS cause health effects because you have the same kind of effects reported in multiple studies in multiple populations,” she said in a phone interview. Birnbaum pointed in particular to longitudinal studies, which follow populations’ exposures and health over time. “You have longitudinal studies showing the same effects in multiple populations done by multiple investigators and you have animal models showing the same impact,” said Birnbaum. In addition, she pointed to studies that show the mechanism through which PFAS chemicals cause harm in people.

 

“That is pretty good evidence that PFAS or certain PFAS can cause health effects in people. It is not as strong for every effect, but there are quite a number of effects where they’re strong enough to say ‘caused,’” Birnbaum said. She pointed in particular to the relationship between the chemicals and immune response, kidney cancer, and cholesterol in humans, saying, “That data is very clear.”

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Opioid Distributors Reach $260M Deal to Settle Ohio Lawsuit: It's a Shameful Deal - a Pittance Paid & No Admission of Guilt!

Opioid Distributors Reach $260M Deal to Settle Ohio Lawsuit: It's a Shameful Deal - a Pittance Paid & No Admission of Guilt! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The nation’s three biggest drug distributors and a major drugmaker reached a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties Monday over the deadly havoc wreaked by opioids, striking a deal just hours before they were about to face a jury at the start of the first federal trial over the crisis.

The settlement means the closely watched trial is off for now.

The trial involved only two counties — Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Akron’s Summit County — but was seen as an important test case that could gauge the strength of the opposing sides’ arguments and prod them toward a nationwide settlement.

Across the country, the drug industry is facing more than 2,600 lawsuits brought by state and local governments seeking to hold it accountable for the crisis that has been linked to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades. A federal judge in Ohio has been pushing the parties toward a settlement of all the lawsuits for nearly two years.

The agreement announced Monday calls for the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson to pay a combined $215 million, said Hunter Shkolnik, a lawyer for Cuyahoga County.

Israeli-based drugmaker Teva would contribute $20 million in cash and $25 million worth of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

“People can’t lose sight of the fact that the counties got a very good deal for themselves, but we also set an important national benchmark for the others,” Shkolnik said.

The deal contains no admission of wrongdoing by the defendants, said Joe Rice, a lead plaintiffs’ lawyer.

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Odds Of Hitting A Deer In PA Go Up: October, November, December Worst Months

Odds Of Hitting A Deer In PA Go Up: October, November, December Worst Months | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Chart is derived from data reported by Newtown Township Police Calls for Service reports.]

 

If you've driven in Pennsylvania, you don't need us to tell you that there are deer everywhere.

 

The odds of hitting a deer in Pennsylvania are high and only getting higher. The Keystone State is the third most-likely place in America where you'll hit a deer while driving, according to State Farm's annual deer-vehicle collision study.

 

That's right: Pennsylvania drivers have a one in 52 chance of hitting a deer. Overall, American drivers were less likely — one in 116 — to experience a crash involving a deer, elk, moose or caribou.

 

But in Pennsylvania, the numbers are not declining. In fact, they're going up. In previous studies, Pennsylvania drivers had a one in 63 chance of hitting a deer.

 

October, November, and December are the months where most animal-involved crashes occur, particularly around dawn and dusk.

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Yes, Oct through Dec are the worst months, but what happened in March 2019? Looks like an anomaly to me.

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Decriminalizing Marijuana in PA Has "Nearly Unanimous" Support Says Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Decriminalizing Marijuana in PA Has "Nearly Unanimous" Support Says Lt. Gov. John Fetterman | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults has “nearly unanimous” approval from residents, according to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

 

Fetterman held a listening tour in every county across the state over 90 days earlier this year to take public comments on whether the state should follow examples of several other states and reform its marijuana use laws.

 

“We’ve heard you, and this announcement today is our earnest effort to bring about the changes you’ve told us you want,” Fetterman said.

 

Gov. Tom Wolf joined Fetterman in a news conference Wednesday where the two said they would now urge the General Assembly to draft bills reforming the state’s criminal punishments for cannabis outside the medical marijuana program.

 

Those possible legislative actions include a bill to decriminalize non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses and expungement for similar past convictions. They will also ask lawmakers to “seriously debate and consider the legalization of adult-use, recreational marijuana,” a news release from Wolf’s office states.

 

Fetterman also urged those with non-violent marijuana-related convictions to apply for a pardon through Wolf’s office until an expungement law is passed.

 

The statewide listening tour saw thousands of a responses from residents and local officials, and included a stop in Bucks County in May.

 

About 150 people came to the Zlock Performing Arts Center at Bucks County Community College in Newton Township, with most comments supporting either legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. [Read “Fetterman's Listening Tour in Newtown: Attendees Overwhelmingly Support Legalization of Recreational Marijuana”]

 

It was a similar experience for most of the other stops on Fetterman’s tour as he described Wednesday the “near unanimous” approval he heard as he traveled the commonwealth.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Not only can legalized marijuana raise much needed tax revenue, it can also help combat the opioid epidemic, save lives, and save EMS expenses as well as freeing up law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes. Read “Is There a Role for Medical Cannabis in Combating the Opioid Epidemic?

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Public is "Doubly Harmed" When Purdue Pharma and Other Guilty Opioid Manufacturers Deduct Opioid Settlements From Taxes. 

Public is "Doubly Harmed" When Purdue Pharma and Other Guilty Opioid Manufacturers Deduct Opioid Settlements From Taxes.  | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

When Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced in March that Purdue Pharma would pay the state $270 million to settle a lawsuit linked to the opioid epidemic, he declared the agreement "begins a new chapter for those struggling with addiction."

 

The deal also appears to be part of the latest chapter in a saga where U.S. corporations trim their tax bills by writing lawsuit settlements off on their taxes.

 

Congress blocked many of those tactics in a major tax-cut law passed in 2017. However, a few initial settlements among the thousands of opioid lawsuits show the regulatory cat-and-mouse game continues.

 

In a settlement with Purdue Pharma, the payments will go to a new foundation and a center researching pain and addiction. An agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA specified the firm's payment would be restitution, not a penalty. And a settlement with McKesson declared the transaction wasn't a fine, penalty, punitive damages, or forfeiture – all terms that might carry weight when companies file their taxes.

 

Corporate write-offs of government settlements exact a financial toll on millions of average Americans, according to reports by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, a government watchdog organization.

 

"When corporations deduct settlements for wrongdoing, the public is doubly harmed," the organization warned in a 2015 report.

 

Settlements aren’t seen as a deterrent if companies can write them off on their tax returns, it said. And other taxpayers "must shoulder the burden of the lost revenue in the form of higher taxes for other ordinary taxpayers, cuts to public programs, or more national debt," the report said.

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Related Stories:

  •  “To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids”; http://sco.lt/9CyCmW 
  • Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd 
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG 
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f 
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Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous

Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

As negotiations continue in Congress over a defense spending bill that could provide for some federal cleanup and regulation of PFAS, executives from the companies that manufactured and used the chemicals faced tough questions from a congressional committee Tuesday.

 

At the core of the hearing was the question of how and whether Congress should act to hold polluters accountable and ensure faster cleanup of sites across the country, including in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, where PFAS have seeped into drinking-water supplies from military bases or former manufacturing sites. That question is also part of negotiations over the defense spending bill.

 

Court documents and other records have indicated that 3M and DuPont were aware of the potential health risks of the substances they used for decades. Scientific research has linked PFAS to health problems, though researchers have said they are still studying causation.

 

“These companies here with us today have screwed up, and we need to hold them accountable for doing so,” Rep. Harley Rouda (D., Calif.) said as the hearing began before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

 

Politicians and activists have demanded that the federal government regulate the substances and that the military and manufacturers clean up contamination.

 

‘Plenty of science’

 

“You want to get credit for the decision to no longer produce these dangerous chemicals voluntarily, but in the same breath want us to believe that there’s no science that says that these chemicals are dangerous at all,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D., Mich.), addressing 3M. “There’s plenty of science out there that demonstrates that these are harmful chemicals and dangerous for human consumption. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have taken them off the market in the first place.”

 

[The Union of Concerned Scientists agree. Read "What Congress Should Ask When Industry Tries to Spread PFAS Disinformation"]

 

The White House threatened in July to veto the House version of the defense spending bill and listed PFAS-related items among dozens of concerns. The House and Senate versions passed during the summer each contained provisions that, among other things, would phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging; require water quality monitoring for PFAS; designate the chemicals as hazardous substances under federal law; and provide funding for more studies and cleanup.

 

One provision would require the EPA to set a safe drinking-water standard, which the EPA says is in progress, but will take years longer than activists say is acceptable.

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Related Stories:

  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP POLICE REPORT: Sofa Cushion on Bypass, Gunshots on Durham Road, More...

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP POLICE REPORT: Sofa Cushion on Bypass, Gunshots on Durham Road, More... | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

CUSHION ON THE BYPASS >> A passing motorist contacted police on August 30 at 9:30 a.m. to report a sofa cushion in the southbound lane on the Newtown Bypass. Patrol checked the Bypass in both directions and did not locate a cushion.

 

TRAFFIC DETAIL >> Police conducted a Commercial Motor Vehicle Traffic Detail on August 30 between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. on the Newtown Bypass at Campus Drive. As a result of the detail, four trucks were stopped and inspected; five violations were found, and one citation was issued.

 

GUNSHOTS REPORTED >> Around 8:15 p.m. on August 31 police responded to the 800 block area of Durham Road for the report of gunshots being heard. Upon arrival, officers did not hear any gunshots and searched the surrounding area with negative results.

 

ACTIVE WARRANT >> Police initiated a traffic stop on Washington Crossing Road shortly before 9:45 p.m. on August 31 on the operator of a red Dodge Journey SUV for committing a traffic violation. Upon contact with the driver, 25 year old Matthew Yoak of Philadelphia, the officer obtained his information and determined that Yoak was a wanted person due to an active warrant out of Philadelphia Police Department. Yoak was taken into custody and transported to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Warrant Unit without incident.

 

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Owners of Purdue Pharma - the Sacklers - Want to Continue to Sell Oxycontin Abroad: Settlement Talks Stumble as Some States Resist

Owners of Purdue Pharma - the Sacklers - Want to Continue to Sell Oxycontin Abroad: Settlement Talks Stumble as Some States Resist | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Sackler family is willing to give up Purdue Pharma to settle all claims related to the opioid crisis, but is resisting a quick sale of its overseas drug company.

 

Purdue Pharma’s negotiations to settle thousands of lawsuits over the company’s role in the opioids crisis have turned into a standoff between members of the Sackler family, who own the company, and a group of state attorneys general over how much the family should pay and whether it can continue selling drugs abroad.

 

The Sacklers are deep in negotiations that, if finalized, would force them to give up ownership of Purdue, the company widely blamed for the onset of the opioid epidemic with its aggressive marketing of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. But they want to keep selling OxyContin and other drugs abroad for as many as seven more years, through another company they own, Mundipharma, based in Cambridge, England.

 

Some attorneys general, particularly in wealthier states like New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, are resisting that and other issues related to the foreign business.

 

“Connecticut demands that the Sacklers and Purdue management be forced completely out of the opioid business, domestically and internationally, and that they never be allowed to return,” said Attorney General William Tong of Connecticut.

 

The Sackler family’s net worth has been estimated by Bloomberg at $13 billion, so paying $3 billion to settle their claims would still leave them with a substantial fortune. And even so, some investigators believe they are worth much more.

 

Related Stories:

  • “OxyContin/Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Offers a $10-$12 Billion Deal to Fend Off Law Suits, Prevent Further Damage to Its Image, and Open Up a Market for Its New Drug to Treat Overdoses!”; http://sco.lt/8jHyQS
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”: http://sco.lt/6wb24f
  • “Purdue Pharma Lawsuit Apparently Shows the Drug Company Wanted to Capitalize on Opioid Addiction Treatment, Report Says”; http://sco.lt/8xl9bF
  • “KVK Tech - Located in Newtown Township - is #7 Among the TOP TEN Biggest Rx Opioid Manufacturers! According to DEA Database”; http://sco.lt/5n2yoq
johnmacknewtown's insight:

When I was known as “Pharmaguy” in the pharmaceutical world, I noted that as prescriptions for OxyContin have fallen nearly 40% since 2010, Purdue Pharma is losing billions in lost revenue. So the company’s owners, the Sackler family, are pursuing a new strategy: Put the painkiller that set off the U.S. opioid crisis into medicine cabinets around the world.

 

A network of international companies owned by the family is moving rapidly into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers in places ill-prepared to deal with the ravages of opioid abuse and addiction.

 

In this global drive, the companies, known as Mundipharma, are using some of the same controversial marketing practices that made OxyContin a pharmaceutical blockbuster in the U.S.Purdue

 

Read “The Pain in Spain: OxyContin Sales Shrink in U.S., So Purdue #Pharma Goes Global!”; http://sco.lt/6FrO2i

 

*******

[In Brazil, China and elsewhere, the companies are running training seminars where doctors are urged to overcome “opiophobia” and prescribe painkillers. They are sponsoring public awareness campaigns that encourage people to seek medical treatment for chronic pain. They are even offering patient discounts to make prescription opioids more affordable. Source]

 

 *******

Any efforts by drugmakers like the Mundipharma companies to promote emerging-market demand for opioids have the potential to be dangerous, warns Jason White, chair of the World Health Organization’s expert committee on drug dependence.

 

Medical professionals in middle- and low- income countries may not be aware “that a number of Western countries, particularly in North America, went through this years ago and that people have now realized the problems,” White said. [Source]

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OxyContin/Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Offers a $10-$12 Billion Deal to Fend Off Law Suits, Prevent Further Damage to Its Image, and Open Up a Market for Its New Drug to Treat Overdoses!

OxyContin/Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Offers a $10-$12 Billion Deal to Fend Off Law Suits, Prevent Further Damage to Its Image, and Open Up a Market for Its New Drug to Treat Overdoses! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is reportedly offering a sweeping settlement worth $10 billion to $12 billion to resolve claims that it bears responsibility for the nation's opioid crisis.

 

The company made the confidential offer in talks involving more than 2,000 lawsuits, including cases brought by state and local governments, NBC News reported Tuesday.

 

The deal would settle allegations that Purdue engaged in deceptive marketing about deadly and addictive opioids to enrich itself.

 

It would reportedly involve Purdue Pharma and the family behind the company, the Sacklers, as well as a planned Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that would wipe out the family's stake in and control of the company.

 

The settlement would include $7 billion to $8 billion from Purdue, more than $4 billion in drugs, including some used to save people who have overdosed, and at least $3 billion from the Sackler family, according to NBC.

 

News of the potential deal comes a day after Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $572 million judgment in Oklahoma over allegations that it deceptively marketed opioids [read “Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million in Landmark Opioid Trial”; http://sco.lt/7ldAVU]. Purdue agreed to a $270 million settlement in that case, rather than taking it to trial like J&J.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

What's interesting to note is that the "deal" offers $4 billion worth of drugs, "some used to save people who have overdosed."

 

It just so happens that Purdue is seeking approval of a new drug to treat overdoses.

 

In March 2019, Purdue announced (read "After pushing addictive OxyContin, Purdue now pursuing overdose antidote") that the US Food and Drug Administration "has granted fast-track status to its investigational drug nalmefene hydrochloride (HCl), an injectable, emergency treatment intended to rescue people suspected of having an opioid overdose. Purdue suggests that nalmefene HCl’s effects last longer than the similar emergency opioid antagonist naloxone. As such, the company hopes nalmefene HCl will out-compete naloxone at reversing overdoses from the most highly potent opioid, namely fentanyl..."

 

So, consider this Purdue's opportunity to again profit from the Opioid Epidemic by getting in the market for drugs to treat the problem it helped cause!

 

BTW, Purdue still plans to expand its Oxycontin market in Europe, where, until until now, opioids are not much prescribed compared to the U.S. Read “The Pain in Spain: OxyContin Sales Shrink in U.S., So Purdue #Pharma Goes Global!”; http://sco.lt/6FrO2i

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Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million in Landmark Opioid Trial

Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $572 Million in Landmark Opioid Trial | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson had intentionally played down the dangers and oversold the benefits of opioids, and ordered it to pay the state $572 million in the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers.

 

The amount fell far short of the $17 billion judgment that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

 

Still, the decision, by Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court, heartened lawyers representing states and cities — plaintiffs in many of the more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits pending across the country — who are pursuing a legal strategy similar to Oklahoma’s. His finding that Johnson & Johnson had breached the state’s “public nuisance” law was a significant aspect of his order.

 

Judge Balkman was harsh in his assessment of a company that has built its reputation as a responsible and family-friendly maker of soap, baby powder and Band-Aids.

 

In his ruling, he wrote that Johnson & Johnson had promulgated “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” that had “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths” and babies born exposed to opioids.

 

Sabrina Strong, a lawyer for Johnson & Johnson, one the world’s biggest health care companies, said, “We have many strong grounds for appeal and we intend to pursue those vigorously.”

 

Johnson & Johnson, which contracted with poppy growers in Tasmania, supplied 60 percent of the opiate ingredients that drug companies used for opioids like oxycodone, the state argued, and aggressively marketed opioids to doctors and patients as safe and effective. A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, made its own opioids — a pill whose rights it sold in 2015, and a fentanyl patch that it still produces.

 

Judge Balkman said the $572 million judgment could pay for a year’s worth of services needed to combat the epidemic in Oklahoma. [Read “Big Question in Opioid Suits: How to Divide Any Settlement”; http://sco.lt/63SYIi ]

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