PHARMACEUTICALS
FDA finds heavy metals in Kratom products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had found high levels of heavy metals such as lead and nickel in some kratom products.

The regulator has been clamping down on the substance, which advocates say helps ease pain and reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal, but which the FDA says has similar effects to narcotics such as opioids and has resulted in dozens of deaths.

Levels of metal in kratom-based products would likely not cause poisoning in a single use but could cause people to suffer if used repeatedly, said FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

“The findings of identifying heavy metals in kratom only strengthen our public health warnings around this substance,” Gottlieb said in a statement.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has listed kratom as a “drug and chemical of concern.”

The FDA said it was contacting companies marketing kratom products to inform them of the metal-testing results.

— Reuters

HOUSING
Home prices rose at slower pace in Sept.

U.S. home prices rose more slowly in September from a year ago as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, rose 5.1 percent from a year earlier. That’s down from a 5.5 percent yearly gain in the previous month. It was the sixth straight month that home-price increases have slowed.

The weaker price gains reflect a broader slowdown in the nation’s housing market. Sales of existing homes rose modestly in October. New-home sales have fallen for four straight months.

The declines can be mostly traced to higher mortgage rates, which have jumped in the past year. Home prices, even with the slowdown, are still rising more quickly than incomes. Combined with higher borrowing costs, that has made buying a home less affordable for many.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Students at the private Rider University in New Jersey can eat chicken, as long as it's not
Chick-fil-A. The school removed the fast-food chain from a survey asking students what restaurants they would like on campus "based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community."
Chick-fil-A says it has "no policy of discrimination against any group." Rider said it understands some may view the decision as a "form of exclusion" but that the university wanted to be "faithful to our values of inclusion." Rider plans to hold a campus forum on the issue.

Waymo, the business created from Google's self-driving car project, hired two executives for new positions ahead of a key milestone. Amee Chande, a former Alibaba Group executive, will be Waymo's first chief commercial officer as the Alphabet unit prepares to launch a limited paid driverless vehicle service in December. Deborah Hersman, former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, will be chief safety officer. Half of Waymo's C-suite executives are female.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases third-quarter gross domestic product.

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases new-home sales for October.