Got an itch? 2013 Allergan of the Year – often in moistened wipes

equate feminine wipes
Yes, MI is an ingredient listed in these

“In the last two or three years, we’ve suddenly seen a big increase in people with this type of allergy,” said Dr. Matthew Zirwas, director of the contact dermatitis center at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “For some patients, their rash has been unexplained and going on for years.”

Zirwas says the chemical preservative is MI (methylisothiazolinone) and it has been around for years. MI is found in many water-based products like liquid soaps, hair products, sunscreen, cosmetics, laundry products and cleaners as well as pre-moistened personal hygiene products and baby wipes.

“Concentrations of the preservative have increased dramatically in some products in the last few years, as manufacturers stopped using other preservatives like paraben and formaldehyde,” Zirwas said.

The irritated skin can be red, raised, itchy and even blistery, appearing much like a reaction to poison ivy. The three most common areas affected by the allergic reaction include the face, from using soaps and shampoos, the fingers and hands, from handling the wipes, and the buttocks and genitals from using moistened flushable wipes.

“If someone suspects an allergy to moistened wipes, they need to stop using them for at least one month. A week or two isn’t enough time,” Zirwas said.

Zirwas is nationally-known as a kind of ‘dermatologist detective.’ He has spent nearly 10 years sleuthing out the causes of mysterious rashes that others can’t solve. Over the years, he has identified allergies to shoe glue, hot tub chemicals, nickel in food, even a chemical in escalator hand rails. Patients have traveled from as far as Alaska to have him diagnose their skin allergies.

Zirwas says it isn’t clear how many Americans might react to MI, but he says manufacturers are aware of the growing allergy problem and are working on alternatives.

The question easily comes to mind – what level of testing did manufacturers of products like moistened bum-wipes utilize if doctors are discovering allergic reactions are becoming common? Did anyone at the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the FDA happen to ask this question?

Kid suspended from school for pretending his finger was a gun

I want your finger unloaded before you enter school

An elementary school principal suspended a 10-year-old boy for three days after the student pointed his finger like it was a gun and pretended to shoot one of his classmates.

“I was just playing around,” fifth-grader Nathan Entingh told the Columbus Dispatch. “People play around like this a lot at my school.”

The suspension letter from Devonshire Alternative Elementary School said that Entingh used a “level 2 lookalike firearm” during the incident…

“The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences,’” school spokesman Jeff Warner said. “It’s just been escalating.”

Entingh’s father Paul feels that a three-day suspension is unwarranted. “He said he was playing,” Paul said. “It would even make more sense maybe if he brought a plastic gun that looked like a real gun or something, but it was his finger. I would have even been fine with them doing an in-school suspension.”

I would teach that kid to use a different finger – and point it at the principal.

Duke Energy cited for more ash dumps without proper permits

North Carolina regulators have cited five more Duke Energy power plants for lacking required storm water permits after a massive spill at one of the company’s coal ash dumps coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

The state department of environment and natural resources announced Monday that Charlotte-based Duke had been issued formal notices of violation for not having the needed permits, which are required to legally discharge rainwater draining from its plants into public waterways.

Two other violations were issued Friday against the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, site of the 2 February spill. The company could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the violations.

State regulators indicated they had been aware since at least 2011 that some Duke facilities lacked the required storm water permits, yet took no enforcement action until after last month’s disaster

The violations were issued three days after the Associated Press filed a public records request for a copy of Duke’s storm water permit for the Dan River plant. The agency responded that no such permit existed.

The operative word – once again – is collusion.

The five new violations are against Belews Creek Steam Station in Rockingham County, Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County, Lee Steam Electric Plant in Wayne County, Roxboro Steam Electric Power Plant in Person County and Sutton Steam Electric Plant in New Hanover County.

State regulators also expressed concern Friday about potentially contaminated water trickling from a stormwater pipe at the Cliffside plant. That pipe drains an emergency storm water basin built on top of an old coal ash dump, but is only supposed to drain water in severe storms.

State officials said the corrugated metal pipe is heavily corroded and taking in groundwater, which is draining out at a rate of more than 1,100 gallons a day into rocks a few feet from the Broad River.

Duke Energy and the cluster of North Carolina politicians living in their pants pockets must still be hoping the principled portion of the press, local and otherwise, is going away. Doesn’t read like that is likely. These creeps in good old boy politics and business have been caught at their game. It’s a good story and it ain’t disappearing.

Government spying tools will eventually leak to criminals

NSA data gathering facility in Bluffdale, Utah

Electronic spying tools used by the U.S. government could end up in the hands of organized criminals and hackers, further eroding Internet security, warned industry leaders who called for new restrictions and oversight of government activity.

“It is a big worry” that the methods will spread, said Andrew France, former deputy director of the UK’s NSA equivalent, GCHQ, and now chief executive of security startup Darktrace.

The government habit of purchasing information about undisclosed holes in software is also “really troublesome,” said former White House cyber security advisor Howard Schmidt. “There’s collateral damage.”

Both France and Schmidt spoke to Reuters at the annual RSA Conference, the world’s largest cyber security gathering, in San Francisco last week. RSA is the security division of electronic storage maker of EMC Corp.

Security researchers say that secret state tools tend to fall into the hands of mobsters and eventually lone hackers. That trend could worsen after former spy contractor Edward Snowden disclosed U.S. National Security Agency capabilities for breaking into Cisco Systems routers, Dell computer servers and all kinds of personal computers and smartphones, industry leaders and experts warned at the RSA conference and two smaller gatherings in San Francisco convened partly to discuss RSA’s government deals.

Both the United States and the security industry itself came under fire at the various assemblies.

Previously faulted mainly for their inability to stem the tide of attacks, security providers such as RSA have become front-line victims themselves. Hackers tied to China breached RSA in 2011 in order to falsify credentials used by employees at U.S. defense contractors…

Far worse was the revelation, by Reuters in December, that RSA had accepted a $10 million federal contract largely to promote the use of a flawed cryptographic formula developed by the National Security Agency.

Though experts publicly called the system suspicious in 2007, it remained the default in RSA’s widely distributed kit for securing software until documents leaked by Snowden last year suggested it had been planted by the NSA to provide the agency back-door access to a wide variety of computer programs. The Wall Street Journal confirmed the Reuters report a week ago…

Famed cryptographer Bruce Schneier, an outspoken opponent of mass surveillance, said Snowden had raised awareness on the extent of privacy invasions and showed that good encryption can force spy agencies to work harder and be more targeted in their investigations.

RTFA for details, disruption and disagreement. The beasts are starting to eat their own children. Unfortunately, that’s still not enough to keep them from snooping through the live of every citizen in the world they may access.