CONSUMER CATCH-UP: South Shore Furniture recalls dressers for tipping safety hazard, Party City to close stores amid helium shortage, charcoal toothpaste can damage your teeth

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- South Shore Furniture recalls dressers with risk of tipping, entrapment

South Shore Furniture is recalling over 300,000 dressers that pose a risk of toppling over and causing injuries - and, in one reported case, the death of a two-year-old child.

The dresser being recalled is the 3-drawer "Libra" model, which was sold online by Wal-Mart and Amazon, and by Target under the name "Simply Basics 3 Drawer Dresser."

Consumer Reports tested the dresser in November 2018; it failed two of their three tests, tipping over when a 50-pound weight was applied to an open drawer. At the time the dresser failed Consumer Reports' testing, South Shore responded that the dresser was not subject to their voluntary stability standard, which only applied to dressers taller than 30 inches.

The recall announcement yesterday came just one day before today's furniture safety meeting at ASTM International, a group that sets voluntary standards for many products.

"The meeting was essentially addressing whether or not the safety standard, the voluntary standard, should include dressers that are shorter, shorter than 30 inches," said Rachel Peachman, Consumer Reports investigative reporter. "And this Libra dresser is 27.5 inches. So if this dresser had been included in that standard, it would have been required to pass that 50-pound test that it didn't pass in our testing."

Consumers who own the dresser should immediately discontinue using the dresser and place it in an area not accessible to children. They should then contact South Shore Furniture for a full refund. For more information on this recall, consumers should visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall announcement.



Party City to close 45 stores as helium shortage blows up balloon business

When filling balloons is a part of your business, a helium shortage can really burst your sales.

Party City has announced that it will close 45 stores this year, three times the number of stores it has typically closed in years past. The company says that it is hoping to boost overall profitability by driving traffic to its 900 remaining stores.

However, the global helium shortage seems to be what's blowing up their bottom line. Filling balloons is among Party City's most profitable services. But their mylar balloon sales fell 8 percent last year, resulting in a 1.4 percent decrease in overall sales.

Helium is a finite resource on this planet, and it has been running out for several years. Party City stated that the shortage first began affecting sales in August 2018. The party supply company just signed an agreement with a new helium supplier, but will have to raise their prices on balloon-filling services because of the increased cost of the gas.



Charcoal toothpaste can damage teeth, study finds

According to the British Dental Journal, charcoal belongs in a barbecue - not your bathroom.

The British Dental Journal is reporting that charcoal toothpastes can actually do more harm than good. They published a review after testing 50 different charcoal toothpastes to see if they met their claims of whitening, strengthening, and detoxifying teeth. The Journal found that not only did these toothpastes fail to live up to their claims, but that abrasive quality of the toothpaste could cause tooth decay. The charcoal could wear down tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to stains and other damage.

If you're interested in whitening your teeth, the American Dental Association recommends you speaking to your dentist, and using toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.



Written by Simone Chavoor.

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