U.S. health officials are investigating low levels of a potentially dangerous contaminant in the popular heartburn medication Zantac and related drugs.

For now, the Food and Drug Administration said patients can continue taking their medications.

The agency said Friday it has detected a “probable” cancer-causing chemical in the medications, which are sold as both prescription and over-the-counter treatments.

FDA officials said the amount of the contaminant barely exceeds levels found in common foods. But the same chemical has been linked to dozens of recalls of blood pressure drugs in the past year. The FDA is still investigating that issue and last month sanctioned a manufacturing plant in India that makes some of the medications.

Roughly 80% of the ingredients used in U.S. drugs are manufactured overseas.


The solar system may have another foreign guest.

Both NASA and the European Space Agency are reporting that a newly discovered comet zooming toward the sun is likely from another star.

Astronomers said Thursday it’s traveling 93,000 mph, so fast it likely originated outside our solar system. It’s 260 million miles from the sun and getting closer.

It’s expected to completely sidestep Earth, remaining beyond Mars’ orbit.

Scientists predict the comet will hurtle past the sun in December and keep going until it’s back in interstellar space. It should be visible with professional telescopes well into next year. Its nucleus is estimated to be 1.2 miles and 10 miles across.

Officially known as C/2019 Q4, the comet was discovered two weeks ago by an amateur astronomer at an observatory on the Crimean Peninsula. In 2017, a telescope in Hawaii spied our first known interstellar visitor.

With another so soon, these interstellar passers-by could be more common than originally thought.

“We are now working on getting more observations of this unusual object,” Marco Micheli of ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Center said in a statement. “We need to wait a few days to really pin down its origin with observations that will either prove the current thesis that it is interstellar, or perhaps drastically change our understanding.”


Not everything glittered in the 17th century when what is now the Netherlands was a mercantile, military and artistic superpower, so a Dutch museum has decided to stop calling that era the “Golden Age.”

In a statement this week, Amsterdam Museum curator Tom van der Molen said the term is strongly linked to national pride over prosperity and peace but “ignores the many negative sides of the 17th century, such as poverty, war, forced labor and human trafficking.”

The decision has ignited some heated responses, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who studied Dutch history in college, on Friday calling the move “nonsense.”

The century saw traders from what was then called the Dutch Republic fan out across the globe, bringing unprecedented affluence to cities like Amsterdam and Leiden. Painters Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer produced masterpieces and the country became known as a bastion of creativity, free thinking and religious tolerance.

In recent years, however, activists in the Netherlands have pushed for more recognition of the dark side of 17th-century Dutch prosperity, in particular the country’s involvement in the slave trade.

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