Entries in mold (6)


Fisher-Price Recalls 800K Infant Sleepers over Risk of Mold Exposure

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) -- Fisher-Price is recalling about 800,000 infant sleepers over concerns about mold buildup, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on Tuesday.

The recall affects Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleepers sold in stores and online since September 2009.

The CPSC said Fisher-Price has received 600 reports of mold on the recliner seats and some parents have reported illnesses linked to the product.

"Sixteen consumers have reported that their infants have been treated for respiratory issues, coughs and hives after sleeping in the product," the CPSC said in a press release.

Mold can develop under the sleeper's removable seat cushion if it is left wet or not cleaned frequently, warns the CPSC.  

Consumers who own the affected product are being asked to immediately check it for any mold.  If they spot any, they should cease use of the sleepers right away and contact Fisher-Price to find out how to remove the mold properly.

The recall does not affect Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleepers currently in stores.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bread That Lasts Months?

Hemera/Thinkstock(LUBBOCK, Texas) -- The company Microzap says it has found a way to keep bread free of mold for two months, according to the BBC.

The company zaps the bread using a microwave array that kills the spores that create mold. While it all sounds a bit technical, the company also claims the patent-pending process can be completed without damaging the quality of the food.

The hope is that the technology, which can also be used on other foods and even pet treats, will dramatically reduce the amount of food that is wasted. Additionally, Microzap researchers say the technology can be used in food processing plants to reduce the occurrence of salmonella contamination.

As for the future, Microzap is currently working on developing a process to treat homes and hotels infested with bed bugs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Is the Makeup Counter Making You Sick?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many women are drawn to the makeup counter by the allure, glamour and intrigue of achieving a new look.  But what else could you be putting on your face when you sample products from a store’s makeup counter?

If you’re not careful, it could be everything from yeast to mold to dangerous bacteria strains that have accumulated on the samples over time.  Those strains could lead to rashes, infections, break-outs and more on your skin.

An undercover test conducted by ABC's Good Morning America found that one out of every five, or 20 percent, of samples tested from 10 stores across two states showed significant growth of mold, yeast or fecal matter.

“You don’t have to panic,” Dr. Philip Tierno, director of microbiology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told GMA.  ”You just have to realize that if you have an open cut, you might not want to go that route of using makeup that has been used by other people before you.”

Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure magazine and an expert in the field of make-up and beauty, agrees.

“To me, makeup testers are like petri dishes,” she told GMA.  “I would not want to go near one or put anything in that tester on my face.”

Wells says there are ways to avoid exposing yourself to germs while still testing out new beauty looks.  Here are her top safety tips to try the next time you’re in the market for new makeup:

1. Research the makeup you want online before you go to the store, so your choices are narrowed and you don’t have to try as many.

2. Be wary of even disposable wands because you never know how many people double-dip the samples.

3. Stay away from open jars of lip gloss, moisturizer and foundations, because people may have dipped their fingers into them -- and hands are hotbeds of germs.

4. When testing eyeshadow and eyeliner, use a disposable applicator and test it on your hand, not your eyes.

5. To test a new foundation, apply it to your neck, away from your face and lips.

6. Ask the salesperson to sterilize lipstick tubes with alcohol before you try them.  GMA's tests showed that kills the bacteria.

7. To try a new lipstick shade, apply it to the pad of your finger, not anywhere near your mouth.

8.  Test concealer on your inner wrist, not your face, where the lighter coloring will usually match your under-eye area.

9. Never test mascara from a used tester bottle.  Ask the clerk to open a fresh tester and give you a disposable wand.  Dip each wand only once, to avoid contaminating the sample for the next customer.  If a new tester isn’t an option, don’t test at all.  Instead, ask the salesperson to describe the mascara to you.

10. Many stores now have a “buy and try” policy, where you can purchase cosmetics, take them home to try on, and then get a full refund if you’re not happy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Blogger Finds ‘Moldy’ Tampon

Danielle Parr(SAGINAW, Texas) -- A Texas blogger has some women thinking twice about what’s inside their tampon applicators.

Danielle Parr of Saginaw, Texas, said she was shocked to see black spots on a tampon peeking out from its purple applicator.

“I pushed it out a little further, and I saw what looked like mold on it,” said Parr, a 23-year-old stay-at-home mom. “I immediately showed it to my husband, and his eyes got really big. He said, ‘It looks like mold to me.’”

Parr said the tampon came from a box of Kotex she bought at a grocery store three or four weeks earlier. The rest of the tampons in the 36-pack appeared to be normal.

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On Tuesday, Parr posted pictures of the tampon on her blog, which now has 304,100 views and counting. She also emailed pictures of the tampon to Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kotex tampons, and said she got a swift apology, which she also posted on her blog:

“We understand how distressing it can be to find mold on a product that is used for personal hygiene and apologize for your concern. In instances where it has been found, we conducted tests on the product involved and have found the mold to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk. The vegetative mold is similar in nature to mold on vegetables or in baked goods.”

“I think that’s why this is getting such a huge response,” said Parr. “People are grossed out by what I found, but even more freaked out by the company’s response.”

Parr said she got a second response from Kimberly-Clark late Tuesday night apologizing for the original reply:

“Nothing is more important to us than consumer safety. Any discoloration or abnormality with our tampons is extremely rare, and we want to do a full investigation to determine the source and follow-up with our manufacturing facility. So if you still have the tampon, can you please return it to us by using the prepaid mailing envelope we’re sending you?”

Parr gave the tampon to ABC affiliate WFAA for independent testing.

Bob Brand, a spokesman for Kimberly-Clark, said the company is committed to consumer safety.

“We are committed to, and are taking all necessary steps to get to the bottom of this; including hiring an independent testing facility to conduct a thorough investigation of the product in question. Unfortunately our initial response to the consumer contained incorrect information and we are sorry for the mistake.  Any discoloration or abnormality with our tampons is extremely rare, and we believe this is an isolated incident.  We have reached out to the consumer and have apologized,” he said in a statement to ABC News.

In November, the company recalled roughly 1,400 cases of Kotex tampons that were “manufactured with a raw material contaminated with a bacterium, Enterobacter sakazakii, which may cause health risks, including vaginal infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), pelvic inflammatory disease or infections that can be life-threatening,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The health risks of a moldy tampon are less clear, according to Dr. Kimberly Sauchak Gecsi, a gynecologist at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

“It’s never been studied,” said Gecsi, adding that the vagina has defense mechanisms that can kill most pathogens. “It’s not necessarily harmful, but we really don’t know.”

Gecsi said women who are worried about what’s under their tampon applicators do have options.

“You can always use an applicator-free tampon,” she said.

Parr said she plans on using applicator-free tampons from now on, and not ones made by Kotex.

“It’s an image I can’t get out of my mind,” she said, adding that companies should make clear applicators so women know what they’re putting in their bodies.

But not everyone thinks the black spots on Parr’s tampon are mold.

“Am I the only person that thinks that ‘mold’ looks like Sharpie marker?” an anonymous commenter wrote on her blog.

“I am not a fly-by-night tampon decorator,” Parr replied. “I like Sharpies as much as the next guy, but I’m not gonna doodle on a tampon and pass it off as mold to get a few blog views.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Irene's Flooding May Bring On Allergy Symptoms

ABC News (CHICAGO) -- Hurricane Irene may have dissipated into the universe, but it continues to wreak havoc on home and health.

Experts warn that the excessive flooding that followed Irene could cause a surge of mold. For those with allergies, this can mean coughing, sneezing and wheezing galore.

"As Northeasterners, we're not really accustomed to hurricanes, and as a result, we're not accustomed to the ramifications," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of N.Y. "People are coming in for mold-related symptoms and pollen allergies. It's like the perfect storm."

About one-third of all those with allergies are sensitive to mold. Allergic reactions to the fungi include nasal congestion and sneezing. Asthmatics will experience chest congestion, coughing and difficultly in breathing.

"Just because you don't see it or smell it doesn't mean the mold isn't there," said Bassett. "Dust mites love mold and moisture, so you're going to have an indoor allergy and asthma problem if it's not taken care of."

Those who have compromised immune systems from underlying conditions such as autoimmune disorders, HIV and cancer are at greater risk of severe health problems, including pneumonia, triggered by mold.

"Exposure to mold is a real problem, for people with allergies and even in people who don't have allergies," said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. If you can remediate the mold, you can get to your baseline and avoid problems."

Pollen is also seeing a spike and people with allergies are seeing the effects of that too.

"The excess water is feeding the water table and these ragweed plants surrounded by all this water are priming the pump," said Bassett.

After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, experts coined the term "Katrina cough" after so many people in the area experienced respiratory illness brought on by mold and dust. Symptoms included cough, headache, nasal congestion, pink eye and sore throat.

To avoid such an aftermath while cleaning up Irene's mess, Bassett recommended several devices and techniques, such as using an N95 mask to prevent inhaling the allergens.

Water and bleach is effective in killing mold and reducing in the future, said Bassett. Use caution when removing water-damaged items that can result in the release of microscopic molds into the air of the home. In some cases, a sensitive person may experience immediate respiratory symptoms if mold spores are inhaled.

A dehumidifier and a hygrometer, a device used to measure humidity, will help in gauging and eliminating humidity. Numbers should read "well below 50 percent" on the hygrometer to avoid mold growth.

"You might have to clean several times to make sure you got it all," said Fineman.

"The ones coming in after the storm aren't the ones who practice preventive care," said Bassett. "It's important for people to get tested to see if they have allergies to avoid problems."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mold Exposure Increases Kids Risk of Asthma

Spike Mafford/ThinkstockCINCINNATI, OH – According to study results published in the August issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, nearly nine million children in the U.S. have asthma, and previous studies have shown that mold exposure contributes to the development of the condition, particularly in children.
The study confirms the early findings that kids exposed to higher levels of mold at one year of age were almost three times as likely to develop asthma by the age of seven as kids with lower mold exposures during infancy.  Mold exposures at seven years of age were not associated with asthma at that age.

Tiina Reponen, PhD, lead study author and University of Cincinnati (UC) professor of environmental health explains that “early life exposure to mold seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development." Professor Reponen said, "This study should motivate expectant parents…to correct water damage and reduce the mold burden in their homes to protect the respiratory health of their children.”

University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center researchers analyzed seven years of comprehensive data for 176 children to evaluate the effects of mold exposure in early life.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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