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Nation in brief: Measure tightens bisphenol A rules

Senate Democrats introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban a controversial chemical found in plastics from all products made for infants and children up to age 7 and would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the health risks the chemical may pose.

“There have been enough warning signs about the dangers of this chemical that we cannot sit idly by and continue to allow vulnerable children and infants to be exposed,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

His bill to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, was co-sponsored by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry and Robert Menendez.

Marion, Ill.

Newspaper carrier’s instinct saves life

Newspaper carrier Bruce Pitts knew the elderly couple only by the prayers the wife made for him while he was working at night and in bad weather, but he felt something was wrong when the papers piled up outside their home.

“It was never like them to leave a newspaper in their tube,” Pitt said Tuesday.

After his route early Sunday, Pitts went home, napped briefly and, with his wife, returned to Blanche and Fred Roberts’ home, just outside Marion, Ill.

They repeatedly rang the doorbells but got no answer. Pitts then eased open an unlocked side door and saw the couple about two feet inside, 84-year-old Blanche Roberts helpless, looking right back at Pitts. Her right leg was pinned beneath the body of her 77-year-old husband Fred, who apparently had died last Wednesday evening of a heart attack after mowing the lawn.

Blanche Roberts was taken to a hospital in nearby Herrin. Pitts said the couple’s relatives told his wife Monday that she was doing fine.

St. Paul, Minn.

Franken says he’ll pay back taxes

Senate candidate Al Franken, dogged by accusations that he failed to file tax returns in California, said Tuesday he will pay about $70,000 in back income taxes in 17 states dating to 2003.

Most of the income at issue was from speeches and other paid appearances by the comedian-turned candidate, who said he got bad advice from his accountant but takes responsibility for the errors.