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EPA Proposes Achievable Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standard, Slashing Air Pollution and Providing Extensive Health Benefits – Based on extensive input from auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses.   Once fully in place, the standards will help prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths per year and 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children. The proposal will also reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants and exposure to pollution near roads. More than 50 million people live, work, or go to school in close proximity to high-traffic roadways.   The EPA’s proposal is estimated to provide up to seven dollars in health benefits for every dollar spent to meet the standards. The proposed standards will work together with California’s clean cars and fuels program to create a harmonized nationwide vehicle emissions program that enables automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states.  The standards will maximize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants and air toxics from cars and light trucks. Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal will be available for public comment and EPA will hold public hearings to receive further public input.   Read the full press release for more information:  US EPA today proposed sensible standards for cars and gasoline.

FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap – Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposed rule that will require manufacturers to prove that their antibacterial soaps and body washes are safe and more effective than plain soap and water.   The FDA says there is no evidence that antibacterial chemicals, such as triclosan and triclocarban, used in liquid soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs. There is a concern that routine use of these antibacterial chemicals is contributing to a surge in drug-resistant germs, or superbugs, that render antibiotics ineffective.  The rule will not apply to hand sanitizers, hand wipes, or antibacterial soaps that are used in health-care settings such as hospitals and clinics.  FDA will take comments on its proposal before finalizing it in coming months.  Read the FDA’s announcement: FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap.

CDC Guides Schools on Kids’ Food Allergies – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is giving schools recommendations on how to handle food allergies in students, include information for how schools can create awareness of children with allergies among faculty and staff, recommendations for school cafeteria workers, and what to do when a child has an allergic reaction.  According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, 1997–2011, non-Hispanic black children were more likely to have food allergies. Among children with family income less than 100% of the poverty level, 4.4% had a food allergy.  The CDC recommends schools have epinephrine on hand to respond to anaphylaxis emergencies and also help children with food allergies read food labels so they can avoid foods that trigger their allergies. Learn more about the CDC’s guidelines for managing Food Allergies in Schools.

Improving Health Care for Veterans – The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 authorized Veterans Affairs to establish a wide range of new services to support certain caregivers of eligible Post 9/11 Veterans.   Between 2010 and 2012, health center program grantees increased the number of veterans to 251,188, an increase of 11%.  A few benefits of the law include: health care coverage, travel expenses, including lodging and per diem while accompanying Veterans undergoing care, respite care, and mental health services and counseling.  Additional provisions of the law include:

  • provide support for the caregivers of seriously injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans,
  • improve services for 1.8 million women veterans, and
  • expand the availability of health care for veterans and services preventing veterans from becoming homeless.

The law allows the VA to carry out demonstration projects on alternative ways to expand care for rural veterans by partnering with Medicare/Medicaid, DHHS community health centers, and others.  Read the full law here.