Call it truth in advertising: An Indianapolis company is recalling all flavors of its Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars because, by golly, they're toxic.

Tests in California show elevated levels of lead, a dangerous neurotoxin, in the candy bars, which are imported by Candy Dynamics from Pakistan. The labels show a 55-gallon drum overflowing with green goo, and a grimacing character in the shape of a mushroom cloud. While there's no lead listed on the label, the other ingredients aren't exactly health foods: the first three are sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated palm kernel oil.

Announcing the voluntary recall of cherry, sour apple and blue raspberry flavors last week, the Food and Drug Administration notes that other Toxic Waste-branded products are still, apparently, fit for consumption.

Chimney sweep rip-offs

Among the "cold-weather cons" publicized by AARP this month is a warning about chimney sweeps, who may advertise a cheap cleaning and then discover all sorts of costly troubles once they look at your chimney.

If you're told you have to act immediately, be suspicious. If the chimney sweep says there's a carbon monoxide leak, ask for proof from a CO detector. If the sweep says the chimney's crumbling, look for chunks of masonry in the fireplace or outside the house.

AARP advises that a cleaning should cost $150 to $200 and that local fire department and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (317-837-5362) can offer referrals for chimney sweeps.

Discrimination complaints soar

Incidents of workplace discrimination reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hit a record 99,922 in the most recent fiscal year, as claims of retaliation surpassed racial discrimination for the first time.

The EEOC reported last week that its 250 lawsuits and other actions on behalf of victims of discrimination compelled private sector employers to hand over $404 million "to promote inclusive and discrimination-free workplaces."

The agency defines retaliation as an employer's punitive action against a worker who complains about discrimination. Complaints of racial discrimination had previously been the most common category since the EEOC was launched in 1965.

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