November 23, 2014

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Why Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed” was a Special Book

Unsafe at Any Speed book

Unsafe at Any Speed book

A closer look at the book that forever changed the way car engineers and vehicle manufacturers designed and developed automobiles.

Ralph Nader earned himself enemies of a different sort – the multimillion, multinational sort – after the publication and subsequent success of his book in 1965. The book was direct in its title, Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile. Its contents, wrapped up in eight chapters, were a reflection of a one-man crusade against major automobile manufacturers in the US at that time.

In presenting his main topic and supporting arguments, Nader took careful note of the features and characteristics of car models that were unsafe. This, he said, is indicative of the industry’s insistence on comfort and cost-effectiveness at the expense of safety measures, against well-founded and technically informed criticism of car design and engineering. He mentioned several industry insiders, one of which is the Tire and Rim Association, which confirmed that the tire pressures in the Chevy Corvair left the car’s front tires overloaded and therefore unfit by industry standards.

The book opens with the rear-engineered Chevrolet Corvair by the General Motors, or what Nader referred to as the “The One-Car Accident”. Aside from the tire pressure problem earlier described, he also mentions the swing-axle suspension design, which was prone to “tuck under” in certain circumstances.

In succeeding chapters, Nader criticizes several other vehicle features, from design elements such as panels and dashboards, to style elements and even gear shift quadrants. He claims that cars are excessively ornamented, with bumpers that are dangerously hazardous to pedestrians and instrument panels and dashboards with shiny chrome and glossy enamel finishes that reflect incoming light into the driver’s eyes. Nader concludes that aggressive styling stands as proof that the car design now has precedence over good vehicle engineering.

Another important point Nader raises with regards to vehicle features is the lack of a standard gear shift pattern for makes and models fitted with automatic transmission. The differences in gear shift patterns make it difficult for drivers to adjust between using the “PNDLR” pattern (reverse at the bottom next to low, used by GM, Packard, Rambler, and Studebaker) to using the “PRNDL” of Ford, Chrysler’s push-button selection, and Chevrolet’s “RNDL” pattern with a separate hand brake for parking. This leads to accidents, as drivers who were intending to shift gears, for example, would accidentally select reverse. Nader’s criticism of the different gear shift patterns resulted to the standardization of the “PRNDL” pattern first used by Ford.

Nader also touches upon several issues that include poor workmanship, failure to honor warranties, vehicle impact on air pollution, and data from crash science that were ignored by the American automotive industry. By way of conclusion, Nader urges the government to put pressure on the automotive industry to prioritize the safety of road users.

Overall, Unsafe at Any Speed is a work of investigative journalism, with substantial references and materials from industry insiders, as well as in-depth observation of vehicle features. Today it continues to be referred to as “that book about the Corvair”. Vehicle conditions have improved over the years, and while the cases presented in the book no longer reflect the vehicles we have today, the awareness – of vehicle design, safety considerations, and some skeletons hidden in car trunks – that it raised proves to be the book’s main legacy.

Source: the car accident attorney at SOSPersonalInjury.org.



What is the Seat Belt Legislation and How Does It Work?

Should I Wear my Seat Belt?

Should I Wear my Seat Belt?

Car ownership had its boom days after the Second World War, when both the automobile industry and the technology for the production of automobile parts experienced unprecedented growth. Faced with a growing number of vehicle owners and, consequently, road accidents (both vehicular and non-motorized road accidents), the US State of Wisconsin introduced legislation in 1961, which made front seat belts mandatory in cars. New York followed suit in 1962, and the rest of the United States in 1963.

The seat belt legislation evolved over the years as countries became more aware of the effect of seat belts in vehicle safety. From the compulsory fitting of seat belts in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, legislators amended the law to include the compulsory wearing of seat belts. Amendments were also made to cover both the driver and front passenger and, quite recently, rear passengers as well.

Does the Seat Belt Legislation Work?
Evidence supports the effectiveness of the seat belt legislation in reducing fatalities in vehicle collisions. Road safety authorities conclude that the use of seat belts reduced the number of casualties in road accidents, which is supported, in turn, by experiments that make use of both human cadavers and crash test dummies. In these experiments, the chances of dying or incurring injury in car crashes were considerably reduced when seat belts were used.

Other studies confirm this finding by stating that when seat belts are worn, fatality rates go down by 30 to 50 percent. For drivers wearing a lap-shoulder seat belt, those rates trend lower by 48 percent according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Also, in 2000, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) did a statistical research of its data and concluded that passengers age 1 to 4 years old who used child safety seats were 71 percent more likely to survive a car crash. Vehicle occupants over 4 years of age also saw a great reduction in casualties, making the FARS conclude, at last, that safety belts were able to save more than 11,000 live in the year 2000 alone.

All these studies point towards the effectiveness of seat belt legislation in saving the lives of vehicle occupants in the event of a vehicle collision or other road accident. On the other hand, there remains an opposition to seat belt legislation.

Seat Belt Legislation Opposition
If it’s effective at saving lives, why is there an opposition to the compulsory fitting and wearing of seat belts? There are two common grounds for opposition, the first of which is in the nature of the seat belt law: according to the opposition, the forced wearing of seat belts is a form of infringement of liberty. Vehicle occupants who do not wear seat belts are doing so with conscious knowledge of the fact that they can suffer more in property damage, injury, and possibly death as a result of their decision to forgo the seat belt.

A majority of those who oppose the seat belt legislation consider the official estimates to be overstated, or not reflective of the complete picture, which includes additional risks for other road users. On these grounds, the opposition refers to the theory of risk compensation first studied by researcher John Adams. In brief, the theory states that the lesser the risks of injury and death are, the more drivers will reduce their precautions while driving. This theory also has strong evidence to its credit, which makes it a rather strong argument against the seat belt legislation.

To this day, the debate remains. Regardless of how things end up, it’s important to remember that laws are enforced, and failure to abide by them can mean consequences for the traffic offender. It’s also worth noting that the laws that pushed for the mandatory fitting and wearing of seat belts in all motor vehicles ushered in the introduction of many other safety measures in the design and manufacture of automobiles.

Source: the car accident attorneys at SOSPersonalInjury.org.



What Is Risk Compensation?

What is risk compensation?

What is risk compensation?

Whenever debate arises over the compulsory wearing of seat belts, the opposition can be heard citing evidences of risk compensation. What is risk compensation and what role does it play in the Seat Belt Legislation opposition?

In 1981, John Adams of the Department of Geography, University College London published a study that looked into data from several countries with seat belt laws. It hoped to establish a correlation between increased seat belt use and the reduction of injuries and fatalities resulting from vehicle collision and other road accidents. Data showed that in all associated deaths and injuries, the accidents were being displaced from car drivers to other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. While fatalities may have decreased, the number of accidents – as well as the probability of injury and damage to property – remains unchanged.

Over the years, other studies conducted on road safety interventions such as anti-lock brakes, bicycle helmets, speed limits, etc. all provided evidence of a phenomenon, which investigators called “risk compensation”.

Risk Compensation and Human Nature
As a theory of social behavior, risk compensation describes the effect that happens when people perceive a change in the risks they face. Risk compensation claims that people make adjustments to their behavior according to the level of risk or danger and that, most of the time, when these dangers are perceived to be lesser, people tend to be bolder. The feeling that they are safer somehow makes them less cautious of their actions.

Several evidences exist to support this theory, which point to the universality of this behavior. Some researchers and commentators say that risk compensation is self-evident since people will truly act more cautiously when faced with great risks or dangers. All the same, research was conducted, mostly on road safety, which revealed that risk compensation can be observed in various conditions, from seat belt usage in automobiles to ski helmet use and use of skydiving safety gears. No matter the conditions, the situation remains: as people perceive themselves to be safer or more protected, concern and alertness tend to take the back seat.

Evidence of Risk Compensation
As mentioned, risk compensation has been observed in the use of anti-lock brakes. In three separate studies conducted in Canada (1993), Denmark (1997), and Germany (1994), there is a direct correlation between the presence of an anti-lock brake system and the drivers’ road behavior. Speed is generally faster for drivers with the ABS system in place compared to those who lack the technology in their cars. They also tend to follow leading cars closer and brake later, leading researchers to conclude that the ABS fails to show any measurable improvement in road safety.

The same trend was observed in drivers who were habitually belted and those habitually unbelted. In 1994, a US study found out that the driving style of drivers who are used to wearing seat belts run contrary to the expected heightened concern for safety. Habitually belted drivers were seen to be safety-conscious but were actually revealed to drive faster and less carefully when belted. Subsequent research showed that those who were not in the habit of wearing seat belts display risk compensation when asked to drive with seat belts on, driving faster than they would on average without the seat belt. This change in driving style continued to be observed after the drivers returned to driving without seat belts.

Conclusion
Independent studies conducted on skydiving safety gear, speed limits, ski helmets and bicycle helmets also show evidence of risk compensation. With this evidence in place, does this mean that seat belts and other safety systems designed to save lives are useless? The debate on seat belt use goes on, but as for other safety mechanisms, experts still promote their use. While seat belts and ABS systems have no effect on the rate of accident occurrences, they do have a positive effect in buffering the damages caused by accidents that result from miscalculations and errors of human judgment.

Source: the Santa Monica car accident attorneys at SOS Personal Injury.



The Lowdown on Vehicle Crumple Zones

Vehicle Crumple Zones

Vehicle Crumple Zones

Crumple zones. The name itself sounds like something you would never want to be associated with your car, especially when your car is in danger of colliding with something at some point during its life cycle. Yet the name “crumple zone” is not a misnomer (it does crumple when it hits something harder than it is) and it is indeed a part of your car (a very important one, as you will later learn); the name, which is simply descriptive of what the zone does in a collision, helps little in setting straight the old misconception that crumple zones allow the vehicle’s body to collapse in a collision, resulting in the crushing of the vehicle’s occupants.

Crumple zones are designed for your safety, buffering you from the impact of a collision. Engineers use the word “absorb” to describe how the crumple zone receives energy from a collision and minimizes its effect on the rest of the car where the passengers are located. First developed by Mercedes-Benz engineer Béla Barényi, the concept surrounding crumple zones is that a vehicle has three parts that ensure the safety of its passengers: a rigid, non-deforming passenger compartment, and a front and rear crumple zone that absorb an impact by deformation during collision. Since one of the major types of car accidents are head-on collisions, the crumple zone is a safety essential for all types of vehicles.

Deformation – in this case, crumpling – doesn’t sound too good, but it actually is much more preferable than a rigid, non-deforming front and rear that’s similar in composition to the passenger compartment. This is because the crumple zone prevents the impact from being directly transmitted to the vehicle’s occupants. It sacrifices the outer parts of the car to protect the passenger cabin. Otherwise, you receive the same degree of damage as the rest of the car does, which is not really an option you would want at all.

Aside from absorbing shock from collisions, crumple zones also slow down inertia (that physics concept that states that all objects moving at high speed will continue to move forward). This is where seat belts and air bags come in too: while the front crumple zone slows down your body’s natural compulsion to continue moving forward, the seat belt and the air bag restrain you to your seat and keep you from flying out through the windshield. The process is likened to that of hitting a wall with your head first or with your shoulders first. With your shoulder and arm, your flesh is left bruised upon contact in much the same way that a crumple zone makes contact; your shoulder will surely hurt, but it’s better than connecting with the wall with a loud crack of your skull. Overall, this translates to a higher survival rate in the event of a head-on or rear collision.

Modern advances in vehicle design and engineering made crumple zones a life saver as evidenced by high speed crash test results and real life accidents. While crumple zones still have areas for improvement, engineers are looking into better technologies that would allow crumple zones to work around impact incompatibility for safer driving and higher chances of survival in a car crash.

Source: the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys at SOS Personal Injury.



Epidemiology of Road Traffic Safety

road traffic safety precautions

road traffic safety precautions

Given the boom in car usage in the latter half of the 20th century, countries and states had to deal with several vehicle- and traffic-related problems never before encountered in the history of transportation: traffic congestion, vehicular collisions, the need for public transportation, regulation of drivers and certain types of vehicles, air pollution, etc. It would take years for the development of roadways that were carefully engineered to ensure smooth and safe travel through cities, towns, and communities, between states, and across borders. Where it succeeded, we now have the concept and practice of road traffic safety.

What is Road Traffic Safety?

Road traffic safety encompasses drivers and driving regulations as well as the serviceability and safety of roads in order to minimize road accidents such as vehicle collisions. Road traffic safety requires the cooperation of the following:

- For drivers and vehicle owners, this entails driving defensively and with a license, following traffic rules and regulations and applying proper and safe driving practices taught as part of becoming licensed to operate a vehicle;

- For urban planners and traffic engineers, this involves building roads that adhere to correct and proven traffic engineering practices that lessen traffic congestion and risks of collision. Risk factors include poorly-lit roads, lack of sight distance, poor roadside clear zones, lack of road safety barriers such as guardrails, lack of pedestrian barriers for non-motorized users, poor traffic calming, lack of speed humps, etc.;

- For traffic law enforcers, this means implementing traffic rules and regulations and the application of rational traffic control methods;

- For vehicle manufacturers, this requires the design of road vehicles that are able to avoid and survive collisions; and

- For pedestrians and bicyclists, this means utilizing the space provided for them (such as pedestrian lanes, pedestrian crossing, bicycle lanes, etc.) when accessing roads on foot.

Road Traffic Safety for Drivers, Pedestrians, and Cyclists

The following are some safety reminders to ensure road traffic safety for vehicle owners and non-motorized road users (pedestrians and cyclists).

For drivers:
1. Pass a driving test and operate only those types of vehicles that you are proven fit to drive. Public transport drivers and goods vehicle drivers require additional training and licensing. So does driving motorcycles.
2. Comply with rules and restrictions on drinking after consuming alcohol or various drugs.
3. Restrict the use of mobile phones while operating your vehicle.
4. Always wear your seat belts.
5. Make sure you are covered by compulsory insurance.
6. Follow traffic signs and always drive within speed limits.
7. Motorcycle riders are required to wear a helmet.
8. Drivers of certain types of vehicles are subject to maximum driving hour regulations.
9. Observe safety measures when you have children for passengers. Use age- and size-appropriate child safety and booster seats while riding in vehicles.

For cyclists:
1. Some states have speed limits on bicycles. Be sure to observe speed limits.
2. When provided, always use the bicycle lane when traversing roads.
3. Wear a helmet for safety.
4. Never operate a bicycle when drunk or under the influence of drugs.
5. Don’t use mobile phones while on your bicycle.

For pedestrians:
1. When provided, always use the pedestrian lane and pedestrian crossing when traversing roads.
2. When crossing with children, make sure you hold their hand.

Road traffic safety is important in reducing the number of lives lost to road mishaps. By observing road traffic safety, we are assured of safe transportation without injuries, fatalities, and damage to properties.

Source: SOS Personal Injury.



Motor Vehicle Collisions: A Study of Patterns and Characteristics

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Hollywood car chases are always hungry for vehicle collisions; the more vehicles are involved in the mayhem, the more spectacular the action is. Action flicks glamorize motor vehicle collisions so much so that we, as viewers, enjoy the adrenaline rush of tires screeching, cars meeting on impact, and windshields cracking.

Yet cars don’t bleed.

The World Health Organization periodically releases its global estimates of disease and injury. According to its most recent data, road traffic accidents alone are responsible for the deaths of 1.2 million people worldwide, making them the world’s leading cause of death from unintentional injuries.

Casualties by Region
Under WHO’s categories of deaths and injuries, “road traffic accidents” fall under unintentional injuries. This category includes poisoning, falls, fires, drowning, and other unintentional injuries. The most number of deaths from this cause in 2008 was recorded in the Western Pacific, with 351,000 people dead from vehicle-to-vehicle collisions and vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Southeast Asia follows with 309,000 deaths. Thereon, the numbers become considerably lower, with Africa coming in third at 168,000; The Americas at 148,000; Eastern Mediterranean at 124,000; and Europe with the lowest – yet still alarming – 108,000 deaths.

Demography of Deaths
In that same year, there were four times as many males who died in car crashes than there were females. Male adolescents and young adults (age 15 to 29) have the most number of casualties, followed closely by men age 30 to 44. The same trend can be observed in females as well. Deaths from road accidents drop considerably with advanced age, although the numbers continue to alarm; to illustrate, there are more than 226,503 people of ages 60 to 80 years old who died of road traffic accidents in 2008 alone.

Death by Numbers
The good news, if it can be called as much, is that the number of casualties via road traffic accidents has been significantly reduced in developed nations since 1980. The death toll dropped annually, and continues to drop especially in the United States where 28 states were observed to have decreased their road traffic fatalities between 2005 and 2006.

While the number of deaths by motor vehicle collision also decreased in developing nations, data is insufficient to judge by how much it fell.

Overall, the trend of casualties tend to follow Smeed’s Law, a formula that relates traffic fatalities to traffic congestion. According to Smeed’s Law, an increase in traffic volume results to an increase in fatalities per capita but a decrease in fatalities per vehicle. While more vehicles mean more casualties, the number of deaths per incidence of road traffic accident is low in comparison. This law derives from decades of worldwide correlation studies.

Deaths by Type of Impact
Motor vehicle collisions are categorized according to their type of impact. In the US as of 2005, the types of vehicle collisions in order of documented occurrences are:

Rear Impacts
Angle or side impacts
Run-off-road collisions
Collisions with animals
Rollovers
Head-on Collisions
Collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists
Back-up Collisions

In some cases, two or more of these collisions take place in one accident. Called a “second harmful event”, this is commonly observed in a shunt or a high-speed spin wherein a first crash redirects the vehicle to impact into another moving or stationary vehicle or another fixed object such as a traffic road sign, a tree, or a building.

In terms of fatalities, most deaths result from angle or side impacts – more than half the deaths caused by rollovers and head-on collisions. Collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists are also alarming. Back-up collisions cause the least number of deaths, although it accounts for the most number of those who died in non-traffic auto collision in which road workers and children 15 and younger are killed.

This data is useful for the transport industry, for car manufacturers in their development of better, safer vehicles; to the transportation department, in enforcing traffic rules and regulations and promoting road safety to both drivers and pedestrians.

Remember that the numbers of casualties may not be shocking enough to scare you into driving defensively… that is until you or someone you know becomes part of that number of fatalities. While the overall number of motor vehicle collisions and casualties are on the decline, it still pays to observe traffic rules.

Source: California Personal Injury Attorneys.



Legal Repercussions of Traffic Collisions and Economic Costs

Costs of Traffic Accidents

Costs of Traffic Accidents

Road accidents such as traffic collisions are not without quantifiable costs, and after millions have lost lives or limbs to motor vehicle accidents, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Safety Council (NSC) came up with their own estimates on the economic costs of injuries and death resulting from traffic collisions.

Economic Costs of Traffic Collisions
A CDC research revealed that half of the total costs of crash deaths in the United States were found in 10 states, with California ranking the highest at $4.16 billion in medical and work loss costs, followed by Texas with $3.50 billion, Florida ($3.16 billion), Georgia ($1.55 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.52 billion), North Carolina ($1.50 billion), New York ($1.33 billion), Illinois ($1.32 billion), Ohio ($1.23 billion), and Tennessee ($1.15 billion). CDC maintains a complete list of state-specific costs of crash deaths on their official website.

The Federal Highway Administration, as early as 1994, has defined the measures of motor vehicle accident costs. The most widely-used estimation, called “Comprehensive Costs”, includes all components of a vehicular accident and assigns a dollar value to each one. Comprehensive costs encompass the following components:

Property damage
Lost earnings
Lost household production
Medical costs
Emergency services
Travel delay
Vocational Rehabilitation
Workplace costs
Administrative costs
Legal costs
Pain and lost quality of life

The National Safety Council, on the other hand, measured the average economic costs of each occurrence of vehicular accident. According to the NSC, as of 2009, the average economic cost of a death is $1,290,000; for nonfatal disabling injuries, it amounts to $68,100; and for property damage crash (including non-disabling injuries), $8,200 per occurrence.

The NSC also makes use of FHWA’s Comprehensive Costs. They calculated these comprehensive costs and have placed a price tag on their most recent estimates for each type of injury: as of 2009, the Comprehensive Cost of death is $4.3 million; incapacitating injury is at $216,800; non-incapacitating evident injury at $55,300; possible injury at $26,300; and no injury at $2,400.

Legal Consequences of Traffic Collisions
Dead or injured drivers and individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents can be held financially liable for the accidents’ consequences, which include fatalities, injuries to passengers, drivers, and pedestrians, and property damage. Victims may also seek damages in civil court in cases of severe injuries or fatalities, with re-compensation usually exceeding the value that compulsory liability insurances cover. On top of everything else comes the additional cost of hiring a lawyer for court proceedings in case a lawsuit is filed.

Drivers involved in traffic collisions also receive one or more traffic citations addressing any material violations of the laws of traffic and transportation. This includes speeding, failure to obey a traffic control device, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Vehicular homicide is occasionally prosecuted in the event of a fatality, especially in cases including a DUI citation.

Traffic violators are usually penalized with fines and, in severe offenses, the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. Sanction is stronger for offenders under the influence of alcohol or drugs: revocation or long term suspension of the offender’s driving license, as well as jail time and/or mandatory rehabilitation for alcoholism and/or drug addiction.

Above all economic costs and legal consequences, life itself is too precious to lose to traffic collisions. Make sure you observe road traffic safety, drive defensively, and arm yourself with knowledge on how to prevent road accidents so you can prevent becoming one nameless number in the millions already dead or injured from vehicular accidents and traffic collisions.

Source: SOS Personal Injury.



Yaz: The Story of a Potentially Deadly Birth Control Pill

Yaz Lawsuits

Yaz Lawsuits

This article is provided as a courtesy of JD Law Group, drug recall specialist attorneys, 1-888-736-4248.

With the advent of modern medicine and pharmaceutical sciences, contraception became increasingly available to women. Pharmaceutical companies presently make billions of dollars producing contraceptives for women who want to take control of their reproductive health. While most contraceptives do prevent unwanted pregnancies, a number of these are harmful – with some being downright lethal with increased dosages – and are being sold to millions of women in the United States alone. One of these harmful contraceptives is YAZ.

A Killer Drug Enters the Market
In 2001, pharmaceutical company Bayer received FDA approval for its contraceptive dubbed “Yasmin”, which contained drospirenone and ethynylestradiol as active ingredients. Drospirenone is a synthetic progestin – a hormone which, coupled with estrogen (the primary female sex hormone), has been found to be the most effective method of hormonal contraception. Ethynylestradiol, on the other hand, is a synthetic form of estrogen used in almost all modern formulations of oral contraceptive pills. YAZ, a newer version of Yasmin, was introduced and approved by the FDA in 2006. Since then, Yasmin and YAZ have become one of the most popular brands of contraceptives being sold.

As a birth control pill, Yasmin/YAZ was proven to have 99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and treating moderate acne in women age 14 years old and above.

However, the side effects of the drug proved to be more serious than its benefits, so much so that by 2009 there were already 125 lawsuits filed against YAZ manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals. The number continued to grow as more women fell victim to YAZ and to its deceptive advertisements. The FDA issued Bayer a warning letter for its commercials that promised purported benefits of the drug, which were not proven during its clinical trials. The advertisements also downplayed the side effects of YAZ in an effort to save the drug from being pulled from the market. The side effects, however, were far too serious to be ignored and have resulted in YAZ falling under FDA’s scrutiny.

Clinically-proven Side Effects of YAZ
Two clinical trials were made to determine YAZ’s efficacy: the first is the contraception and moderate acne clinical trial, and the second is the PMDD clinical trial. The clinical trials reported the following side effects from continuous use of YAZ:

* Headache/migraine
* Menstrual irregularities
* Vomiting/Nausea
* Breast tenderness/pain
* Mood swings
* Menstrual irregularities
* Fatigue
* Irritability
* Decreased libido
* Weight gain

All of these and more were reported by women who used YAZ. Careful study of YAZ’s side effects revealed that the drug can alter levels of potassium in the blood as well as damage the heart, leading to life threatening effects that include:

* Heart attack
* Stroke
* Deep vein thrombosis
* Blood clots
* Liver damage
* Anaphylactic shock
* Cervical cancer
* Pulmonary embolism
* Gallbladder disease

Increasing Awareness
With hundreds of women falling victim to YAZ, it is imperative for women and men alike to ensure that they are aware of the harmful effects of this contraceptive. Women especially, must educate themselves about the drugs they take; they can take advantage of the reliable medical information over the internet regarding drugs being sold commercially. Awareness and information are just some of the preventive actions that can be taken to ensure that no killer drugs are for sale in shelves nationwide.

For more information contact Yaz attorney John Donahue at 1-888-736-4248 or go to the Yaz Lawsuit web site.

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What Is Erbium? A Glimpse At A Rare Earth Element

What Is Erbium?

What Is Erbium?

Erbium. Though it sounds like a name created by one of the less than stellar characters from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, erbium is actually one of Earth’s rare elements. In fact, it is often found combined with a variety of other elements in its natural state on Earth. If you are interested in learning a great deal more about this rare elemental metal, then keep reading. We’ve listed 10 super facts about this rarely discussed metal below.

1. Carl Gustaf Mosander is the man who discovered erbium in 1843 and he named it after the nearby Swedish village of Ytterby. Erbia was discovered by Mosander after he searated yttria into three separate fractions from gadolinite.

2. Surprisingly, what was once thought to be erbia was actually later found to be another element called terbia. This occurred in 1860 and, by 1877, the element that was being called erbia was renamed terbia.

3. The erbium concentration in the crust of the Earth is estimated to be 2.8 mg/kg; however, in the oceans and seas, it is estimated to be about 0.9 ng/L, making erbium the 45th most abundant element within Earth’s crust.

4. Erbium has never been found in its pure form in nature, but it can be found within the sand ores of monazite.

5. Erbium, like many of the rare earths, is not only expensive, but difficult to remove from the ores that it is found bound to. However, ion-exchange techniques that were created in the latter part of the 20th century have been able to help reduce erbium production costs and make separating this element from other ores much easier.

6. The main two traditional, commercial sources for erbium were xenotime and euxenite. More recently, China has overtaken the position of global principal supplier by locating and producing erbium found in ion adsorption clays.

7. Erbium is produced by crushing minerals and allowing them to be attacked either sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. This transforms any insoluble oxides into chlorides that are soluble or sulfates. Caustic soda then neutralizes any acidic filtrates and thorium will precipitate from the solution for removal. It will then be treated to convert the rare earths to insoluble oxalates via ammonium oxalate. These oxalates are then annealed to create oxides, which are then dissolved using nitric acid. Magnesium nitrate is used to produce the double salts.

8. Once the double salts are produced, the ion exchange process is set into motion, thus washing out selective ions. The erbium will then be obtained from either salts or oxides by heating the salts or oxides with calcium in temperatures of 1450 degrees Celsius.

9. Erbium is widely used due to its remarkable resilience. It is frequently used to form photographic filters, in the creation of nuclear technology and to create metallurgical additives.

10. Erbium is also frequently used in its oxide form to color glass, porcelain and cubic zirconia. In addition, erbium-doped silica-glass fibers frequently are used to create optical communications materials. Erbium is also widely used in dermatology and dentistry applications.

This article is brought to you by PublicMining.org, a free resource web site for mining investors, and Silver Scott Mines, a publicly traded junior mining company (OTC: SILS).

Text courtesy of Stanton Dodson and Dom Einhorn.



What You Should Know About The Chemical Element Dysprosium

Facts About Dysprosium

Facts About Dysprosium

One of Earth’s rare elements is a metal called dysprosium, though you likely have not heard much about this element. You might not know it, but dysprosium is a metal that you really should be watching, especially if you like to invest in precious metals. Why? Well considering that dysprosium prices literally skyrocketed from a price per pound of $7 in 2003 to $130 in 2010, and projections predicting a dysprosium shortfall to occur prior to 2015, let’s just say that it is definitely one to watch.

Below, you’ll find 10 more interesting facts about dysprosium that you likely don’t yet know.

1. Dysprosium is represented by symbol Dy and 66 is the element’s atomic number.

2. Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran is credited for the discovery of dysprosium. He found dysprosium after dissolving it in oxide form in acid. He then added ammonia in order to precipitate a hydroxide. It took him over 30 attempts to finally obtain dysprosium.

3. Dysprosium is appropriately named for the Greek term, dysprositos, which means “hard to get”. In fact, the purest form of the element was unable to be isolated until sometime during the 1950s, after the ion exchange technology had been developed.

4. Dysprosium, just like most rare elements, is not found on Earth in free element form. It is, however, found combined with several minerals, including bastnasite, blomstrandine, erbium, euxenite, holmium, gadolinite, fergusonite, monazite, polycrase and xenotime. The majority of dysprosium currently obtained is being found in ion-adsporption clays in China.

5. The current estimated concentration of dysprosium in the Earth’s crust is around 5.2 mg/kg; however, the concentration estimate is 0.9 ng/L in ocean and sea water.

6. Currently, China produces 99% of the world’s dysprosium. Surprisingly, only around 100 tons of this element are produced yearly for use worldwide.

7. The United States Department of Energy’s prediction is what ultimately caused the price of dysprosium to skyrocket. They have found that dysprosium currently does not have a suitable replacement and that it not only has a wide range of current uses, but also a whole array of projected uses. Many of these uses are in the clean energy sector. Because many countries are now focused more closely on the production of clean energy, a severe dysprosium shortage is expected.

8. Dysprosium is frequently used in the creation of laser materials, as well as in control rods for nuclear reactors, in infrared radiation and in data storage such as hard disks.

9. Dysprosium is often substituted in place of neodymium to increase coercivity in the drive motors of hybrid vehicles. Toyota, for instance, is projecting the manufacture of 2 million hybrid vehicles per year. As previously mentioned, this newer use of the element is going to be a driving factor in the expected shortage of dysprosium.

10. Dysprosium is also used in the production of fuel injectors, transducers and mechanical resonators. In addition, it can be used within dosimeters to measure ionizing radiation, as well as to reinforce various other materials.

This article is brought to you by PublicMining.org, a free resource web site for mining investors, and Silver Scott Mines, a publicly traded junior mining company (OTC: SILS).

Text courtesy of Stanton Dodson and Dom Einhorn.

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