Law Office of Elliott Kanter APC - February/March 2020


In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster

Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self- esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet

Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

MILITARY EARPLUGS DON’T PREVENT HEARING LOSS IF YOU’RE A VETERAN, YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR COMPENSATION! Between 2003 and 2015, 3M Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs have been military standard issue and used in foreign conflicts. Now, 3M faces more than 2,050 lawsuits from veterans affected by tinnitus and hearing loss. The evidence revealed against the company in these cases is astonishing. Aearo Technologies is a subsidiary of 3M and the original designers of the dual-ended earplugs. They claimed that the olive side protected the wearer from all sound while the yellow side protected against explosions but allowed combatants to hear spoken commands and approaching enemies. However, back in the 2000s, they needed to meet the Noise Reduction Rating requirements (NRR) in order to sell to the military. Recent cases say that Aearo and 3M misrepresented the results of the NRR tests. According to one lawsuit, “3M (ATI at the time) did not commission an independent lab to conduct testing on the Combat Arms Earplugs as federal law and the military solicitations require.” The company completed the testing in-house, and it was “a sham.”

Design flaws were known by Aearo Technologies as early as 2000. Multiple sources tell us the stem of the earplugs was too short for a proper fit. During testing, Aearo staff would roll back flanges from the noninserted side (yellow or olive) to stop the earplugs from loosening. American soldiers were not notified of either these defects or instructions when the earplugs obtained an exclusive military contract in 2003. Finally, in 2016, another company that makes hearing protection products called Moldex-Metric Inc. filed a lawsuit against 3M and Aearo, which uncovered much of the evidence concerning 3M’s awareness of the product defects. The whistleblower lawsuit ended with a settlement of $9.1 million in July 2018. If you or a loved one served between 2003 and 2015, were given these standard issue earplugs and suffer from hearing damage, you may be eligible for compensation. You fought for this country — you shouldn’t have to go through this fight alone. Call us at 619.304.3424 for a free consultation.


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