tv KPIX 5 News CBS December 24, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
the county for low-income families. >> none of this was ever intended to go to county employees. >> reporter: steve, in charge of making sure that happens, insist county workers who got a toy didn't take one to steal from the needy. it began with a rumor when the delivery trucks began to arrive. >> word went out all over the county government center, free ties in the parking lot. and, of course, -- toys in the parking lot. and, of course, employees in the county went down to see. >> it was chaotic for hours. >> reporter: it didn't take long for county bosses to find out workers went home with toys. the question now is, what do they do with them? the story takes another turn. >> there's a policy in my office that we don't accept gifts. i'm the county assessor. i'm not in favor of free anything. >> reporter: he told the employees to return the toys to his office no questions asked but the county executive jeff smith who is in charge of most county employees told them not to return them. steve, who is smith's assistant, says workers were told and are being trusted to
hand them out to needy children. >> the county executive was concerned about the legal aspects. i'm concerned about what is the right thing to do and the right thing to do is to return the toys so they can get to the people that need them the most. >> reporter: but no one knows for sure exactly how many county workers got a toy. a holiday gift wrapped up in controversy. >> i think it's sad that all this is going on because this is such a wonderful gesture. >> reporter: in san jose, maria medina, kpix 5. tomorrow is the big day for presents but not everyone is ready to get their gifts. >> thousands of people were out and about in san francisco's union square today scrambling to get in a little more shopping before christmas. [chuckling] >> kpix 5 reporter adam ward in union square where she witnessed -- jackie ward is in union square where she witnessed a mad dash for holiday deals. >> reporter: i did. there are definitely more people out here today than they were yesterday. i was here yesterday, as well. the majority of shoppers we spoke to today, though, said that they were doing shopping for themselves and not so much
other people because that was already done. but the big guy, santa claus himself, was even out here before his journey around the world. >> merry christmas, san francisco! >> reporter: just hours before assembled the reindeer and took off for his annual journey, santa claus was in union square. holiday shoppers weren't the only ones hustling. >> the elves at this moment are meeting the last-minute quota right now! >> reporter: but kenny the elf was making balloons on the spot. he had already fulfilled his toy making duties up north. >> santa called me from the north pole and said it's been really busy so he wanted me to help him. >> reporter: if kenny couldn't make what you were looking for shoppers were finding good deals at a lot of stores. >> i got new running shoes. >> reporter: did dad get anything, not yet. i got to pay for everything. [ laughter ] >> reporter: did you plan to go shopping on christmas eve? >> no. >> reporter: okay, so what happened? >> good sales. >> reporter: for oh, braving the crowds and taking in all
the festivities is tradition. >> this was unplanned. but we actually come every christmas eve and caned of cruise around and -- kind of cruise around and have lunch and enjoy the christmas tree and all the fun people-watching and then we stay at the fairmont. >> we don't avoid union square. >> no, no. >> we jump right on in. >> reporter: before too long, santa had to leave union square to grab a quick snack and load up the sleigh. >> merry christmas! >> merry christmas! >> merry christmas, santa! >> merry christmas! >> reporter: so brian and betty i don't want to brag or anything, but i'm pretty sure that putting santa on tv solidifies my spot on the good list. by the way, he said that kpix 5 channel 5 is his favorite station. so that's good for us to know. >> great. did you get your shopping done today? [ overlapping speakers ] . >> nevermind. >> did you get any shopping done today jackie? >> all of my christmas shopping was done. i did stop at a store down the
block because i have an obsession with caffeine so i stopped at the espresso store down the street. merry christmas! >> thank you. merry christmas to you. it is christmas eve a lot of people leaving home for the holidays or they are heading there. according to aaa 100 million people are traveling this week alone but it was quiet today down at san jose's airport. weren't many people flying in and out and that was the plan that one traveler headed home to seattle had with her dog. >> i found in the past that traveling on christmas eve is usually less crowded than the other days. >> if you didn't have any delays getting to your destination, do keep an eye on the weather when you're headed back. a dozen states are under a winter storm watch. three weeks ago the ghost ship warehouse in oakland burned, trapping 36 people inside. and now the first wrongful death lawsuits have been filed. the attorney for the families of 20-year-old michela gregory and 23-year-old griffin madden says that the unsafe conditions an configuration of the
warehouse trapped them in an inferno. the deadly fire happened during an electronic dance party on the night of december 2. the lawsuits filed yesterday are against the building's other than, the party promoters and the master tenant derick ion almena. a lawyer says they all knew the warehouse was a death trap and ignored the safety issues. >> they allowed people to live there and to come, these young people to come to an event where there was no fire alarms, no sprinklers, no good egress, no way to exit, to get out. >> lawyers want to find out what assets the targets of the lawsuits have. but victims' parents say that they are mainly interested in seeking justice not recovering money. in vacaville crews have recovered the body of a man who drowned in an irrigation canal. police were called to the canal behind persimmon circle at 7 a.m. the man was heard yelling for help and crews searched the canal most of the day. they didn't find the body until
about 2 p.m. the victim's identity hasn't been released yet. two men are under arrest in a deadly stabbing in hayward. two men are now charged with murder. police think that back in august they stabbed a man to death on a hayward street corner. investigators have not revealed the motive. the victim, jason villegas, was 42. in other bay area headlines a light late night house fire displaces a father and son in santa rosa. investigators believe it started in a wood-burning stove being used to heat the house. the fire scorched a living room and caused smoke and heat damage. firefighters got it under control in about 20 minutes. san rafael police say this man is a bank robber. they say he went into a union bank branch late yesterday claimed to be armed and demanded money. he is in his 30s about 6 feet and has brown hair and bleached highlights. and police in belmont are looking for a package thief. surveillance video from earlier
this week shows a man pulling up to a home on marine avenue on a bicycle and picks up a package and then rides away. he was wearing a black baseball cap and had a tan backpack. that happen tuesday afternoon around 1:00. good news for the south san francisco police officer who was beaten unconscious with a skateboard. he is home from the hospital tonight the. officer robby chon was attacked on thanksgiving. he had serious head injuries. during a chase, a suspect slammed his skateboard into officer chon's head. he is going to have to do intense rehabilitation at home but doctors are optimistic about his recovery the suspect facing attempted murder charges. bad news for raiders fans and for derek carr. he is out indefinitely after breaking his leg this afternoon! later in sports, what it means for oakland's super bowl ambitions. >> a long wait for a safe haven. coming up all new at 6:00, the desperate need for homeless
shelters in the bay area. >> especially when you think about the kind of weather that we are getting tonight. freeze warnings posted in parts of the bay area. how about our next chance of rain? details coming up. the forecast after a break. >> i'm consumerwatch reporter julie watts. coming up a look back at some of our most memorable moments this year from the investigations that prompted new laws to the heartwarming stories about viewers like you. stay tuned. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ty about where
sleep if you're homeless in san francisco. new at six... as temperatures drop and the rainy season picks up, so does anxieties about where to sleep if you're homeless in san francisco. new at 6:00, susie steimle shows us almost 1,000 people are on a wait list for housing. >> they don't want you sleeping indoor ways. they don't want you sleeping
anywhere, where you got coverage. >> reporter: orlando webb has been homeless here for a year and a half. he says he is trying to get back on his feet. but he can't get into a 90-day shelter. >> i don't know how. >> reporter: orlando is one of 970 people on the wait list for a 90-day bed. 970 people are trying to get into a semi permanent place for the winter. but most won't come off this list for several months. >> last year i got on a wait list in august. and i barely got in larkin street i think in january. >> reporter: seth marina says he has begin up or getting a 90- day bed. >> you're better off, you know, getting with friends and putting together money and getting either a room for a night or just huddling up under the bill graham. >> reporter: the auditorium is somewhat of a say haven for the homeless to huddle under when the weather gets bad. they know they won't get kicked out and the awning protects them. at the homeless shedder on 5th
street it's one in one out for just a chair to sit in during the day. mary daniels got on the wait list in june and has a 90 day bed here but for hundreds of others the rainy season will be spent keeping what they have dry and huddling together wherever they can find to stay warm. in san francisco, susie steimle, kpix 5. a happy ending for placerville news company after a grinch stole its christmas tree. a good neighbor stepped in and replaced it in time for christmas. placerville news company has been in business since 1856. and every year a friend of the owner puts up a christmas tree as part of the community's holiday tradition. when it was stolen it robbed the city of its tree. >> that's a good tree better than the one i was getting. i have to talk to that person and say can we get a deal?
>> most of the ornaments came from people in the community in honor of the store that brings the town joy year round. one house in the area is known for its holiday decorations. bobtail lohr and his wife have created the display. they started building it in september and they have been doing this every year for well over a decade. it grew out of a tragedy 18 years ago when their oldest daughter died in a plane crash. >> christmas was her favorite time of the year. she loved to decorate her house and her tree for her son, my grandson. the first year she wasn't with us, my other two daughters came over and said, come on, dad, let's decorated for deb. >> the house has become such a landmark, it's now also a drop- off spot for toy donations. the fire department picks them up every night. and santa is already delivering presents to children all over the world. and kids are tracking his every move thanks to the north american aerospace defense
command. also known as norad. norad has been tracking santa for more than 6 decades and they have a team manning the phones for calls from kids as santa makes his way to their homes. ♪[ music ] >> did you see him fly over the hi-def doppler site? i did see that. >> i did too. >> weathermen notice these things. as we have the grapevine, this is the grapevine, i-5 north of los angeles, that was shut down in both directions beginning at 5:00 in the morning. you know why? betty? >> i have no idea. snow? >> snow it right. >> i can thought on the screen. >> yeah. the same system that moved through the bay area went down to southern california and really gathered some strength and that was just a parking lot on interstate 5 until about 10 a.m. they finally reopened that. so bad news for travelers down there. for us, we are going to be looking for cold weather tonight. no snow. now, we were thinking that maybe with the moisture in the area and the cold temperatures that we might have gotten a dusting of snow on bay area peaks but it didn't happen. this is happening though. freeze warning tonight. numbers will plunge below
freezing after midnight. it will affect the north bay inland valleys. so be sure to protect plants and pets up there. overnight lows down to 28 degrees in santa rosa, 34 at san rafael. 42 for san francisco. and 39 at oakland. and a merry christmas to all. it will be a good night tonight if a chilly one. tomorrow looks okay with some high clouds from time to time. and numbers in the low 50s. here's the bay bridge on this saturday night. concord's got 47. 50 in san francisco. 44 in santa rosa and from high atop the west coast, there's that low pressure that's moving out of the state. high pressure rebuilds strongly enough so that the futurecast shows we'll get some high clouds filtering in over the top of the highs later in the day tomorrow, this is 8:00 sunday morning. later in the day though on christmas it looks like the sun will come out and it will be a nice if brisk day. so freeze warnings for tonight in the north bay valley, fair and chilly on christmas day. clouds on monday and no rain in sight as far as the eye can see. travel weather forecast, if you are heading out just clouds
tomorrow. that's about it. but that fog this time of the year the tule fog forms in the central valley and that can be a nightmare so night, early- morning hours, bad, bad, bad. high temperature forecast for the bay area, we'll all be between 50 and 56 tomorrow. and that's a little bit cooler than average in most spots. palo alto university avenue 54 degrees. you know what? they're showing it's a wonderful life as they do every year at the stanford theater but they are almost certainly sold out of that. they sell out early. it's fun to see it the way it's been intended to be shown. good old jimmy stewart and donna reed. in the north bay high in the low 50s. 53 kentfield and 51 in san rafael. bundle up for lakeport and ukiah and clearlake all in the 40s tomorrow. now the eagerly anticipated extended forecast shows that we have partly cloudy skies for christmas day. temperatures 50 to 54 degrees or so. a little warmer by oakland. for monday, and for the rest of the week, we'll slowly begin a
warming trend not that it will feel warm but we'll get back into the upper 50s by thursday, and near 60 degrees around the bay and let's look all the way to next week -- no, nothing in sight. it doesn't look like there's going to be any rain at all for this upcoming last week of 2016. boy, that happened fast. so we are going to get a break from the rain. and the unhappy news is, the oakland raiders got a break, as well! unfortunately, it is in derek carr's leg as dennis will tell you. >> the raiders won a football game but at a steep price. what the immediate future holds for derek carr. and the 49ers were suddenly in the driver's seat for the number one pick in the draft until this! kickoff next. ,, >> closed cap tioning for this newscast is sponsored by "living spaces furniture" ,,,,,, ,,,, (my hero zero by lemonheads)
zero really can be a hero. get zero down, zero deposit, zero due at signing, and zero first month's payment on select volkswagen models. right now at the volkswagen sign then drive event. received in 14 years. today, they got a massive lump of coal... e good news, mario clinching a play-off berth last week was the best christmas present raiders fans have had in 14 years. today they got a massive lump of coal. here's the good news.
mario edwards is back after that injured hip sidelined him in the preseason. scoreless into the 2nd quarter, derek carr to holmes touchdown and raiders 7-0. back come the colts. luck to dante moncrief for the touchdown. thanks to busted coverage and the game was tied! derek carr was a little inaccurate to start the game but found his groove for the touchdown thanks to the mistackle by the rookie safety tj green. janikowski misses the extra point. 13-7. two minutes to go luck drove inside the 30 airs it out to hilton but it's picked off by reggie nelson. his fifth interception of the season. carr led the two-minute drill so rashard for the touchdown. janikowski missed another extra point 19-7 at the break. 3rd quarter, the raiders other rookie running back got it going in the 3rd quarter. washington breaks tackles, 26- 7. the colt got frank gore stripped by malcolm smith.
tj kerry falls on the football. deandre washington wasn't satisfied with just one touchdown. how about another? 22 yards again for the rookie. and they take a 33-14 lead. 33-14 raiders still in the 4th quarter everybody just needs to stay healthy, right? wrong! this is the raiders' worst nightmare! derek carr twisted in the pocket brought down by trent cole in agony. he was helped off the field diagnosed with a broken fibula and will require surgery. the raiders win the game but lose their mvp candidate. it's now matt mcgloin's team. >> you know, i'm ready to go. feel great. i know that this team --these guys around me, this staff this organization will be able to do a great job of like i said help me and making sure we keep moving in the right direction.
>> the backup -- great plays.great plays. he didn't miss a beat. but definitely going to be hard. our mvp of the team, of the league, hurt right now so we gonna be a big spot to fill but we got to do it. >> oakland can clinch the afc west tomorrow night if kansas city loses in denver. >> the raiders are one behind new england. oakland can clinch of afc west tomorrow if kansas city loses. hue jackson and the browns trying to avoid going 0-16. 2nd quarter, the chargers were up 10-7. isaiah right up the middle for a second touchdown of the game. cleveland has the lead for the first time since week 10! 4th quarter browns still clinging to that 3-point lead. phillip rivers trying to lead a comeback, josh lambeau from 45 yards out, time expires! oh, no good! christmas comes early in cleveland! the browns beat the chargers 20-
17 for their first win of the season. and that win by the browns opened the door for the 49ers to get the number one pick in the nfl draft if they continued their losing streak today in los angeles. 49ers facing marin native and former cal quarterback jared goff. that came in handy for this guy who didn't have to watch the first three-quarters jump all the way to the fourth, 14-7 rams. colin kaepernick in the flats. run over by ej gains. the ball comes lose. recovered by l.a. around the san francisco 15. hart injured his knee on the play and didn't return to the game. over that turnover, jared goff to tyler higby for the short touchdown. and giving the rams a 2- touchdown lead with 10.5 minutes to play. you figure against the 49ers game, set, match. but! san francisco comes back. third and 10, cam takes off cuts across the field scores on the 13-yard run cutting l.a.'s lead to 21-14 with five minutes left.
kaepernick scored. and the 49ers get the ball back. with 30 seconds to go they are at the rams 10. kaepernick for the touchdown. cutting the deficit to 21-14. they got --when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose except the number one pick. the 49ers go for two, kaepernick decides to keep it and he is in the end zone! and the 49ers lead 22-21. goff trying to get l.a. into field goal range. but he is picked off by rashad robinson to clinch the win for the 49ers. san francisco comes back from a 2-touchdown deficit to win 22- 21. and snap their 13-game losing -- >> that was amazing. the feeling that this team has been looking for for a long time now to be able to come out and get this win today was huge for us and i think it's something we can build on.
at 6:30: expensive toys going to needy children.. ended up in the hands of santa claracounty emp our top stories at 6:30, expensive toys going to needy children ended up in the hands of santa clara county employees. the company that makes the toys donated them to the county for low-income families. but when the delivery trucks arrived, county employees say there was a rumor that the toys were for them! some employees were told to return them, others are being trusted to give the toys to needy children. union square abuzz with
shoppers the night before christmas. many people are picking up last- minute gifts but those who are done shopping for others are taking advantage of holiday deals for themselves. >> over the next week as we wind down 2016, we'll be taking time to look back at some of our favorite stories of the year. tonight we begin with consumerwatch. here's julie watts with some of the highlights from 2016. >> reporter: our consumerwatch unit helps viewers resolve problems and provides news you can use. so every year, some of those stories lead to in depth investigations exposing much bigger issues and sometimes prompting new laws. we begin tonight with a look back at a couple of those stories. with identity theft on the rise many experts recommend everyone freeze their credit believed to be the best tool to prevent financial identification theft. but in most cases the credit freeze is only available for adults. study shows kids are at great risk. now a new law. >> well, if i were trying to steal somebody's credit history i would steal a kids. >> reporter: the ftc's david
newman says children's social security numbers can be a target for id thieves because their unused credit history offers a clean slate for cracks. >> they won't know about it for a dozen years. >> reporter: we have met several child id theft victims and millions more are at risk due to reoccurring hacks that expose their sensitive information. >> credit freeze is a fabulous idea. >> reporter: a credit or security freeze prevents crooks from running credit charges necessary to open accounts with your social security number. i froze my credit in 10 minutes on tv online. for years the bureaus have refused to let parents freeze their kids' credit file unless the child is already a victim. >> credit bureaus make their money selling your information to would-be creditors and in the case of children who aren't applying for credit, they don't make any money off that account. >> reporter: recognizing the unmatched value of a credit freeze, nearly two dozen states passed individual laws requiring the bureaus allow child credit freezes. california was not one of them. so last year, we found a
loophole that surprised even some of the bureaus. we added my toddler as an authorized user on my credit card which created a credit file not a report or a score, but a file that they had to let us freeze. however, as we set out to create a step-by-step guide for other parents we discovered the bureaus were putting both parents and kids at even greater risk! they asked parents to mail the next documents to a po box! the address alone is enough to tip off thieves an entire identity is inside and when we called to request a more secure alternative, you need my daughter's social security number but you won't give me your employee id? they refused to transfer us from out of country to the u.s. until we gave them my child's employee identity number but didn't have an employee id number. >> if they managed to memorize one name and one social security number a day that's probably more than they make in a month. >> reporter: over the next six months the bureaus made
changes. experion lets you upload documents online, transunion and equifax will give you a fax number but you have to know to act. and that's only if you live in a state that requires they let you freeze your kids' credit in the first place or you know about the loophole we found. >> i had to get my 18-month-old daughter a credit card to freeze her credit. >> no parent should be forced to do that. >> reporter: the assemblyman was shocked. >> for california not to allow minors to have credit freezes doesn't make sense. >> reporter: he introduced legislation that unanimously passed the state assembly and house this year was signed by the governor and takes effect in january. now all california parents have the right to protect their kids' credit before it's compromised. >> something that ought to be a national policy. >> and it may soon be. equifax now voluntarily offers credit freezes for every child but you have to freeze the file with all three bureaus but experian and the other refuses. new legislation would force
them to allow it for all kids. it picked up sponsors following our report. one of those sponsors, jackie speier who also took action this year following another one of our id theft investigations. >> if this bill was introduced before, when you first drew attention to this issue, we called the office. >> reporter: the democrat reached across the aisle asking a republican to reintroduce his safeguarding social security numbers act this year following a series of our reports. >> i was astounded to see that my social security number on all those documents. >> someone took my mail had my social security number they could steal my identity. >> this is ridiculous. >> reporter: first we revealed one of california's largest agencies was violating state privacy laws by printing full social security numbers on millions of unemployment and disability documents sent out in the mail then we discovered they repeatedly sent that sensitive information to the wrong address! >> how in the world does this piece of paper get into an envelope addressed to me? >> reporter: the agency told
us, federal law which supersedes state law required it use social security numbers in the administration of benefits. although the social security administration later confirmed there is no federal law requiring or prohibiting the number on mailed documents. and we learned california was not alone. we contacted unemployment and disability agencies nationwide and only 8 states told us they redact social security numbers on all mailed documents despite the increasing threat of id theft and mail theft. >> this is an important issue. >> reporter: the safeguarding social security numbers act would for the first time prohibit government agencies from displaying or mailing full social security numbers. >> it's really negligence. >> reporter: the legislation is currently pending in congress. >> still ahead how a story on false advertising led to our biggest investigation of the year exposing the regulators blamed for toxic chemicals in car seats and inside the children who use them. first a look back at your story, the viewers consumerwatch helped on air and some of those you never saw. ♪[ music ] ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
we're taking a look back at some of the best every qualities. now to our biggest story of the year on consumerwatch. kids' car seats are critical to keep them safe in the car but our year long investigation revealed misleading advertising and outdated federal regulations makes those millions of children to concerning even known cancer cause chemicals in the car seats and inside the children. we admission the tests and we interviewed experts from every industry. groups that don't agree on much except this. >> there have been health and safety concerns related to the flammability standards for car seats. >> it's the only children's product that you as a parent are required by law to purchase. >> real fires don't follow laboratory tests. >> instead of protecting our kids, the standard is introducing poisons into the environment. >> the lower the exposure the lower the risk.
>> i don't want to wait years and years while millions of babies continue to be exposed to a carcinogen for no apparent safety benefit. >> our investigation began with a consumer story about potentially misleading advertising. a technical report found concerning chemicals in 75% of the car seats tested among them we noticed the high-end orbit baby. it was popular with chemical conscious celebrities and moms advertised to have below detection limits of quote dangerous flame retardant chemicals. >> the concern is that it's associated with cancer. it's very similar to neurotoxin. it's not a good chemical. >> reporter: this scientist was instrumental in getting one form of the chemical banned from children's pajamas in the '70s. she wasn't surprised when we told her other forms were found in various car seats in orbit's case despite the company's claims. >> there's no transparency. >> reporter: orbit denied it used any form of the chemical citing its own testing in independent accredited laboratories. so we did our own testing using
the same epa testing methodologies as orbit three different labs found an even more concerning chemical. knowingly selling a product with that chemical without a warning violates state law. and we discovered orbit had known for years that its products tested positive. >> i was devastated to see that it said tris, yes. >> reporter: orbit bought it back when one of theirs tested positive in 2015 and public records revealed they settled two potential lawsuits over the chemical in 2013. but they never removed the chemical-free claims and was never required to notify potentially affected customers. we have since collected positive test results from parents across the country. >> orbit has a responsibility to let people know that. >> reporter: the center for environmental health took legal action against the company following our investigation. orbit recently stopped manufacturing the line but public records show hundreds of other retailers and manufactures have similar violations and our testing found the chemical in another
car seat with chemical-free claims of unlike orbit, the company recalled and replaced affected car seats after a recall. >> the big picture the government needs standards. i think of all the energy mothers put into researching looking for this safe car seat if you put into getting the government to change the regulation we could all have safe car seats. >> after establishing even the greenest companies couldn't avoid the most concerning chemicals, our investigation pivoted to the impact of these chemicals on kids. as a mom i was horrified to find out that both she and her car seat tested positive for this same cancer-causing chemicals that was removed from children's pajamas back in the '70s due to health concerns. >> oh, no! >> wow! >> listen to this. her levels went from 60 parts per billion in her body while she was using the car seat to 9 parts per billion 24 hours after her last exposure. >> reporter: as we explained, a study found high levels of the chemical inside my daughter. surprising because long before
she was born, i swapped out our couch cushions after a story on flame retardant free homes. when lab results revealed tris in my daughter and her orbit car seat we followed up with tests to confirm the source. 24 hours after she last used her car seat her levels dropped based on the chemical's half- life from 60 to less than 9 parts per billion and 10 days later they dropped more. >> that suggests that her car seat was the primary source of her exposure. >> reporter: a state toxicologist summer games flame retardants break down and migrate into dust which children are more likely to inhale and ingest. in a statement, orbit said in part, it is difficult to definitively link a particular substance to a specific source. >> there's no reason to think that your daughter is going to get cancer from this particular exposure. >> reporter: she explained the presence of any one carcinogen in your body doesn't necessarily translate to cancer. after all, not every smoker gets lung cancer.
but she notes there is little research on the combined effects of these various chemicals in our bodies and for now, every car seat contains flame retardant. the advice? always wash your child's hands when they get out of the car clean and vacuum the car seat often and try to avoid products with known carcinogens and only use the car seat in the car. >> the lower the exposure, the lower the risk. >> the cdc reports car accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths for older kids five and up. the american cancer society notes cancer is the second leading cause of death for all kids under 14. next we wanted to know is the benefit of flame retardant worth the potential risk? >> real fires don't follow laboratory tests. >> reporter: this is a typical car fire. but a 1 1/2 inch test flame is the reason your child's car seat is filled with retardant. as this scientist explained, each car seat material must individually pass the same small flame spread test created 44 years ago for the interior
of the car itself. long before car seats were required and let's were still a leading cause of car fires. flame flams prevent small flames from spreading enable them to pass the federal test which fire scientists say is irrelevant to protecting kids in actual car fires especially in materials under the child inside the car seat. >> the flame spread center was never designed with any recognition of how real car fires behave. >> reporter: this doctor explains by the time these flames reached the child, it would be too late for flame retardants under them. when we commissioned tests in a federal laboratory a sample of an after-market car seat cover without retardants that didn't meet the standards performed as well if not better than one that did. what does that tell you about the current standard. we need to revisit it and take a look at how the car seats perform in real world fire situations. >> reporter: still, the national highway traffic safety administration told us, it believes its standard has served to save children although it admits it has no
evidence and never evaluated the safety benefit in car seats. in fact, no one from more than a dozen government agencies and industry groups could provide any evidence including the manufacturers who say they would rather not use retardants but can't make affordable car seats to meet the federal standard without them. >> you can use tears that meet nhtsa standards that don't have chemicals in them. >> it would be extremely, extremely expensive. >> reporter: nhtsa says it has now begun a two-year research program and will try to quantify child fatalities and injuries prevented by the standard. meanwhile, others are working to force immediate change. >> i was pleased that somebody was digging into this issue. >> following our investigation, congressman jared huffman introduced legislation that would force nhtsa to update its car seat flammability standard to a smolder test similar to california's new furniture flammability standard flame retardants would not be necessary. >> i don't want to wait years and years while millions of babies continue to be exposed to a carcinogen for no apparent safety benefit. >> reporter: other
developments? >> there have been health and safety concerns. >> reporter: regulators were questioned about the issue at a senate committee hearing and the peer review i had study we participated in was published. while not specifically related to car seats the study linked higher levels of chemicals in kids to flame retardant regulations. >> this report is a good example of how misguided regulations can increase exposure and good regulations can actually decrease exposure. >> reporter: and a new study by the group that tipped us off to the issue last year recently indicated a tipping point within the industry. >> this year none of the seats we tested had chlorinated tris in them. this is a long-time coming. >> reporter: however, the ecology center's jeff gearhart says almost all of the car seats still contain concerning brominated flame retardants. the study cited findings from our investigation and highlighted the first-ever flame retardant-free car seat expected to hit the market next year. north to meet flammability regulations it will be too expensive for most consumers an only available for infants.
people say regulatory changes are needed for affordable and healthy car seats. >> the fundamental issue of justice to working and poor families. >> reporter: the ecology center, cox collings consumer advocates and car seat manufacturers and toxicologists support the legislation. the chemical doesn't necessarily mean it is harmful or not in compliance with laws, according to the industry. still ahead the later side of consumerwatch. the viewers consumerwatch has helped on the air and a glimpse behind the scenes. ♪[ music ] you , ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
we're faking a look at some of the best of consumerwatch. while the biggs investigations often lead to policy change helping viewers is the core of what we do. we have recovered tens of thousands of dollars for consumers this year but sometimes it's fixing little problems that mean the most. here are a few of our consumerwatch problems resolved this year. >> extra money when you live on the streets is helpful. >> reporter: among the many people we helped this year oakland's derek sue. a homeless man helping the city of oakland fight its out of control blight by documenting illegal dumping in exchange for a promised reward. >> a deal is a deal. >> reporter: the city had collected more than $25,000 in fines thanks to people like sue but after one year, with his help, he was still waiting for his fair share. >> it's a battle out here. >> reporter: so we stepped in and the city admitted it had
made a mistake. >> i can only say moving forward i need to streamline our communications and frankly our payouts. >> reporter: and sue finally got paid enough to buy himself a tent, a new place to get home. >> things get done with kpix. >> reporter: then there's deborah amber a disabled woman hose' unit at public storage was ransacked and burglarizeed. >> there were no signs of forcible entry into your units. >> reporter: her insurance claim denied prompting our undercover investigation which revealed some questionable practices. would it be legal for their employees to push an insurance policy that the company was in fact profiting from? >> no. the law does not allow them to advise a consumer or act in a way that looks as though they are transacting insurance. >> reporter: the investigation is ongoing but deborah's case is now resolved. shortly after our story aired, the public storage insurance company offered to cover her claims. many of our resolves lead
to bigger stories when art said he couldn't change his password after the hack. >> i could change the at&t password but that didn't affect the yahoo password. >> reporter: that prompted to us start asking questions and as a result, we were among the first to report that many of the billions of accounts compromised in the yahoo hacks include at&t and sbc global customers who never even had a yahoo account. >> for people not to be able to change their passwords right away is dangerous. >> reporter: we also helped art and many others use at&t's work-around to successfully change their hacked passwords. >> i have been trying to return this phone since the second week in september. >> reporter: another big story this year, exploding galaxy note 7s. kathy contacted us desperate to get rid of her dangerous device after she was denied an exchange by samsung and her carrier because she bought the phone on craigslist. >> why wouldn't they want to get it out of my hands? >> reporter: so she called consumerwatch and we called federal regulators and then
samsung armed with information. the company immediately agreed to take back her phone, replace it with a safe one and says it set up a system for others like her. >> then we get a call that says, i'm sorry, um, we can't make it because of inclement weather. it's 70 degrees outside. >> reporter: crystal sums up one of the most common complaints we see this year no show service appointments from companies like sears. civil code 1722 allows customers to collect up to $600 in damages if a repair or delivery person fails to show up within an agreed-upon four- hour window. first we established the consumer rights in these cases then set out to help each one. >> sky was blue and the sun was shining. >> reporter: like this woman with five no show appointments, some also due to so-called inclement weather. after we got involved sears showed up and we helped others with similar complaints. >> the frustration, you know, so frustrating. at the heart of our unit, our consumerwatch volunteers. they are here five days a week
answering calls and emails from viewers with problems. most never end up on tv. so we asked our volunteers to tell us some of those stories and a little about why they choose to volunteer. [ ringing phones ] >> consumerwatch. >> call us almost as a point of last resort. >> a lot of them are fraud cases. >> they are not able to solve their problems by themselves. >> they can call consumerwatch and very often get their problems solved. >> consumerwatch? >> one of my most memorable cases involved a refundable car extended warranty which i had never heard of. >> a gentleman got a parking ticket and he ignored it because he knew that it wasn't his. >> they went into an outpatient facility that was within their network but were treated by nonnetwork providers. >> canceled a subscription and
the pages kept coming. >> in this particular case, she i think had pretty much given up because the dealer told her in no uncertain terms she wouldn't get her money back. >> we had been calling them a number of times not getting anywhere and the letters were more threatening. >> suddenly they were presented with a bill for $1,000 or $2,000. >> it was mostly when she went away and the papers would pile up at her door. >> but we stepped in, said we were looking into it and i think it made them a little nervous that they would have further scrutiny. >> and then i called our reps in los angeles. >> we called the regulator and they did nothing. so i eventually called the medical provider and they forgave the bill. >> there was a deal with this one by going through the same people she had gone through plus one extra. >> in the end, we got back over $1,800. >> the ticket the whole incident was erased from his record. >> it makes us feel good.
>> i come here because i enjoy it. >> i learn something every day. >> we need more news that helps people in their day-to-day life as opposed to the more sensational news. so i'm a big advocate of news you can use. and i think that sums up why i'm involved. >> remember, if you have a consumer problem something we can investigator you're interested in becoming a consumerwatch volunteer, email us or call us. and happy holidays from all of us at consumerwatch. ,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,
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