Archives
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Target has removed two models of fidget spinners from its website and began pulling the items from store shelves on Friday after tests showed they contained high levels of lead.Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck said in a statement to ABC News: “While these two products comply with all CPSC guidelines for fidget spinners, based on the concerns raised, we’re removing them from our assortment. Additionally, we’re working closely with our vendors to ensure all of the fidget spinners carried at Target meet the CPSC’s guidelines for children’s products.”Earlier, the retailer sold the spinners, which are classified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as “general use” products and not as children’s toys. That distinction means they are not subject to lead limits for children’s products.The spinners were labeled “Ages 14+” but consumer and health advocates noted that in practice, the spinners are often used by younger children.CPSC commissioner and former CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye tweeted Thursday: “Seems obvious fidget spinners are toys and should comply with all applicable federal safety standards.”The U.S. Public Interest Research Group tested several models of fidget spinners and found two models, both sold at Target stores nationwide, that contained “extremely high” levels of lead in the metal and coating. One had 330 times the allowable amount for children’s products.The group continues to test other spinners from other retailers as part of its annual holiday toy testing project.Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director for the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said while the spinners might not be officially classified as toys, in practice they often are.“Saying fidget spinners aren’t toys defies common sense, as millions of parents whose kids play with spinners can tell you,” Cook-Schultz said.The group said its testers found the items in Target toy aisles around the country.In a written statement, Target Corp. said the company is “committed to providing high quality and safe products to our guests, and we closely review all product safety claims that are brought to our attention.” It added that CPSC is in charge of determining how the items are categorized.A Target spokeswoman told ABC News she thought the spinners were “primarily” sold in the front of stores.Harold Chizick, spokesman for Bulls-I-Toys of Des Moines, Iowa, the items’ distributor, said in a statement: “Safety is one of our top priorities. All of our product are tested and comply with CPSC safety standards.”The spinners in question are: “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass,” which tested at 33,000 parts per million of lead in its center circle and 22,000 parts per million in the arm, and the “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal,” which was found to have 1,300 parts per million of lead in its center circle and 520 parts per million in its arm.The federal legal limit on lead in children’s products manufactured after August 2011 is 100 parts per million for any accessible parts, with an exception for metal components of bicycles, which are not supposed to have more than 300 parts per million of lead.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all products intended for use by children contain no more than trace amounts of lead. Lead in paint and other surface coatings on children’s products, for example, is limited at 90 parts per million.The AAP says there is no safe levels of lead in children, pointing to growing evidence that a child’s exposure to lead can cause irreversible cognitive and behavioral problems.Young children have been harmed by lead in products, such as costume jewelry they may be tempted to put in their mouths. In 2006, CPSC and Reebok recalled metal bracelets after a 4-year-old Minneapolis boy died of acute lead poisoning
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Europe isn’t usually our first thought when we’re planning a December trip.The Caribbean, Asia and the whole Southern Hemisphere usually come to mind first -- and for good reason. They are, on the whole, much warmer in the winter months.But there are some European destinations that also aren't prone to winter’s chill. Just look to the Mediterranean. You may not be inspired to jump in the hotel pool, but you will be able to leave your winter jacket behind as you enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.Here are some places where you could go, according to Oyster.com's Elizabeth Smith.MaltaAverage December highs: 61 to 65 degrees FAverage December lows: 52 to 56 degrees FAverage Hours of sunshine: 9:48Even if you’ve never heard of Malta, you’ve probably seen its famed Blue Grotto on your Instagram feed or in your favorite travel magazine. This Mediterranean archipelago sits between Sicily and the North African coast, where the weather is pleasant all year long. In fact, with more than 300 sunny days and 2,957 hours of sunshine a year, Malta is the sunniest destination in Europe.The islands themselves offer an interesting intersection of cultures, thanks to periods of rule by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, French and, most recently, the British. Malta became an independent country in 1964, but it retains wonders from throughout its past. The language sounds like Arabic, the food tastes Italian, and the residents drive on the left like Brits.The main island is only 9-by-17 miles, so a prehistoric temple or labyrinthine medieval city is never more than an hour away. Beyond the impressive history lies a plethora of natural beauty: clear turquoise waters, fossil-studded limestone cliffs and sparkling red-gold beaches. Perhaps best of all -- a trip to Malta won’t break the bank.Canary IslandsAverage December highs: 70 to 73 degrees FAverage December lows: 60 to 63 degrees FAverage Hours of sunshine: 10:24It feels like summer all year long in the Canary Islands, and Western Europeans regularly take advantage. Despite their geographical isolation 62 miles off the African coast, the islands receive about 10 million visitors a year.Most of the visitors are hoping to soak up some sun at one of the area’s seafront resorts, but there is more to see in the Canaries. Imagine lunar-like lava fields, looming sand dunes, banana plantations and lush pine forests surrounded by crystal waters.Of course, if you can escape the office for only a week, you’ll probably have to pick your poison. There are seven unique islands to choose from. We recommend sticking to southern Tenerife or the island of Lanzarote if you want the best December weather amid some of the islands' best outdoor adventure, breathtaking views and roaring nightlife.The AlgarveAverage December highs: 62 to 64 degrees FAverage December lows: 48 to 51 degrees FAverage Hours of sunshine: 9:43Portugal’s southernmost region is known for its lovely beachside resorts and expansive golf courses. Pair that with mild temperatures, whitewashed fishing villages and blooming poinsettia trees, and you have the perfect December getaway. The northern mountains protect the Algarve from northern and Atlantic winds, so the only breezes that hit the region can be enjoyed for sailing and kite surfing. You will be a tad warmer if you stay east since it’s closer to the Mediterranean.Whether you head to the Algarve to enjoy the coast or the rugged way of life that remains in the region's interior, you’ll be welcomed by ancient castles, cork-filled hills and golden cliffs. We recommend a walk along one of the many footpaths in the morning, followed by a meal of fresh fish drizzled with local olive oil and wine straight from the vineyard in the afternoon.If you really need to relax, try a thalassotherapy treatment, which uses seawater and seaweed to soothe and revitalize the body. Bear in mind that some re
    Read more...
  • BMW Group(NEW YORK) -- BMW of North America has issued two recalls covering about 1 million vehicles that contain parts implicated in car fires.The recalls span six years of production and include numerous models of the luxury vehicles, but one of the recalls involves a valve heater that can cause fires in vehicles that are not in operation.ABC News found more than 40 cases in the last five years in which BMW owners said parked cars that were not then subject to recalls for fire-related issues spontaneously burst into flames. Some of them, they said, had been turned off for hours or even days.Using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall database, ABC News found that 12 of those vehicles identified were subject to one or both of the new recalls. In a written statement sent to ABC News on Friday, a BMW spokesman acknowledged the voluntary recall.“At BMW, the safety of our customers is a top priority,” BMW spokesman Hector Arellano-Belloc said in the statement. “We understand the serious nature of a vehicle fire, which is why we are taking appropriate steps to repair our customers’ vehicles.”Officials at NHTSA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the recall announcement. In May, in response to the ABC News investigation, the agency encouraged vehicle owners to be vigilant in reporting car fires. A spokesperson at the time told ABC News that the focus of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA was on public safety. "The agency is monitoring this issue and urges anyone with information on this issue to contact NHTSA.”One recall involves the heater for the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve, and the other recall involves wiring and electrical connectors in the system that controls air flow for heating and air conditioning. The PCV valve heater recall affects 740,561 BMW vehicles from these models and years: 128i from 2008 through 2011; and the 328i, 525i, 528i, 530i, X3. X5 and Z4 from 2007 through 2011.The blower motor system connectors recall affects 672,775 vehicles of these models and years: 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335xi and M3 from 2006 through 2011; 335is from 2007 through 2011; and the 335d from 2009 through 2011.Some of the 3-series models are listed in both recalls, bringing the total number of vehicles affected to about 1 million. Dealers will fix the vehicles for free, with an expected start date of Dec. 18. BMW owners can easily determine if their vehicle is covered by the two recalls by going to NHTSA’S website and using their vehicle identification number (VIN) to check for open alerts.Joseph Santoli, a New Jersey-based attorney who has sued BMW in the past, called the new recalls a “step in the right direction,” but said the mystery of the parked BMW fires is far from solved. In some cases, the vehicles have been so badly burned that it was difficult to determine a cause, and in other cases, the fires were determined to have started elsewhere on the vehicle, Santoli said.“I really think that they have to do a comprehensive study of what is causing all of these fires, and they have to work much more closely with NHTSA,” Santoli said of the car company.He added that, in some cases, consumers have been asked to sign blanket confidentiality agreements.“That just compounds and exacerbates the problem,” he said.Last spring, ABC News turned over its findings to the NHTSA, which issued a statement asking consumers to report any potential safety issues.According to chronology reports provided by BMW to NHTSA, BMW had looked into heat damage involving the heating and cooling system as early as 2007 but stepped up its analysis work in September. The issue with the valve heater first came to the carmaker’s attention in 2009, and tests were performed in 2011 and 2012. The carmaker met with NHTSA in October and issued the recalls.BMW told ABC News last
    Read more...
  • Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Want an iPhone X on Friday? Good luck -- unless you staked out a spot at an Apple store.Long lines -- some snaking for blocks -- of Apple enthusiasts are greeting Apple store employees Friday morning. The iPhone X (pronounced "ten") officially hits store shelves on Friday, though customers willing to wake up early on Oct. 27 were able to preorder the smartphone, which starts at $999 and features an all-new, 5.8-inch, super retina display with OLED screen.Tech analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said he expects every iPhone X that’s available on Friday to sell out. But it won't be the tech giant's bestselling model."It’s sharing the lineup with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and they’ll take a decent amount of share of sales this year too," he said Friday morning in an email to ABC News.Apple CEO Tim Cook would not reveal how many iPhone Xs were preordered last month, but he said Thursday in the company's fourth-quarter earnings telephone call that preorders were "very strong."Brian White, an analyst with Drexel Hamilton, wrote in a recent research report that the iPhone X has taken the iPhone franchise to "a whole new level" by "pushing the company deep into the ultra-luxury smartphone market with the highest-priced iPhone in the company’s history."For customers who will inevitably walk away empty-handed, fear not: Production of the iPhone X is increasing every week, and the company is going to get as many iPhone Xs to customers as quickly as possible, Cook said. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fire safety manufacturer Kidde is recalling nearly 38 million extinguishers that can clog and fail to deploy, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday.Two Kidde fire extinguishers failed in a 2014 car crash that killed a 22-year-old Pennsylvania man, the CSPC said.The man, Brendan Rosko, died more than three years ago, when his car hit a tree and burst into flames on the side of King Road in Malvern, Pennsylvania.First responders, who arrived moments later, unsuccessfully attempted to quell the blaze with two Kidde extinguishers, both of which malfunctioned, according to CPSC. Kidde extinguishers with plastic handles can become clogged, "require excessive force to discharge" or even "fail to activate" during a fire emergency.The agency said it has received reports of 16 injuries, from smoke inhalation to minor burns, and 91 cases of property damages associated with the defect."Those fire extinguishers can have a problem, and it may get clogged or it may just not deploy," CPSC Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle told ABC News. "The purpose of the recall is to alert the consumers that there is a very easy fix."Consumers should check their model number against the CPSC's list and call Kidde at 855-271-0773 for a free replacement with a metal handle.The company told ABC News that "customer safety is our first priority" and pledged to replace the affected units "as quickly as possible."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...