Developer of home treadmill dies at 96
William Staub, who took the treadmill — that ubiquitous piece of exercise equipment that is loved and loathed by millions — into homes and gyms, has died. He was 96 and had been spied on a treadmill as recently as two months ago. He died Thursday at his home in Clifton, N.J., his son Gerald said. Staub, a mechanical engineer, built and marketed his first treadmill in the late 1960s — 40 steel rollers covered by an orange belt, a gray cover over the motor, and orange dials to determine time and speed. Staub envisioned it as a tool for people who wanted to run or walk outside but didn't because of inclement weather, less-than-ideal circumstances or creative excuses, his son said. At the time, the treadmill was almost exclusively used by doctors, said Dr. Kenneth Cooper, a health and fitness pioneer who used the machine to perform stress tests.
Drugmakers must pay to dispose of medicines
A Northern California county voted Tuesday to make the pharmaceutical industry pay to dispose of unused prescription drugs. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously 5-0 to approve an ordinance that requires drugmakers to set up programs to dispose of expired and unused drugs, making it the first county to do so, industry and government officials said. "It is time … for pharmaceutical companies who are among the most profitable companies in the U.S. to share responsibility for the impact, possible negative impacts, of their products," said supervisor Wilma Chan on Tuesday. Alameda County residents currently can drop off their old medications at 28 different spots at a cost of about $330,000 a year to the county, officials estimate. The bill's proponents say drug companies should take responsibility for the dangers posed by their unused pills. "This ordinance isn't going to have any effect on abuse of prescription drugs," said Marjorie Powell, a representative of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, after the vote. "It's going to take a whole lot of other activities to convince people not to abuse prescription drugs." Pharmaceutical industry representatives also say that there is no evidence showing drug take-back programs help the environment and that the ordinance unfairly places the costs of drug disposal only on out-of-county manufacturers.