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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Emerging Toxic Torts Legal News

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Firm Gets Extension In Flint Water Crisis Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Jan. 18 granted the application for an extension of time for an engineering firm to file a petition for writ of certiorari to appeal a decision by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) requires a lawsuit brought by a class of residents in Flint, Mich., pertaining to its lead-contaminated water crisis to be tried in state court (Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam PC v. Jennifer Mason, et al., No. 16A701, U.S. Sup.).



Flint Water Crisis Defendants: Court Should Consider Rulings From Other Courts
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Some of the defendants sued by residents of Flint, Mich., in connection with that city's lead-contaminated drinking water crisis on Feb. 15 filed a brief in Michigan federal court contending that the court should consider decisions issued in other cases pertaining to the Flint water crisis (Tamara Nappier v. Richard Snyder, et al., No. 16-636, W.D. Mich.).



Judge Dismisses Flint Water Case, Says Federal Notice Requirement Not Met
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 7 dismissed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan, its governor, various state employees and the city of Flint, Mich., for the lead-contaminated water crisis on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements of a federal law pertaining to safe drinking water (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).



Judge In C8 Injury MDL Vacates Orders In Light Of Global Resolution Of Claims
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The federal judge in Ohio presiding over the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Feb. 14 issued an order vacating all current scheduling orders because the parties have informed the court that they have reached a global resolution of all cases comprising the MDL (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



3 Sets Of Plaintiffs: Monsanto Concealed Carcinogenicity Of Glyphosate
SAN FRANCISCO - A California couple on Feb. 9 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in California federal court, alleging that the husband of the couple has contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to the company's herbicide Roundup, which contains that active ingredient glyphosate (Joseph E. Shipley, et al. v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-651, N.D. Calif.).



Cancer Case Against Monsanto For Glyphosate Exposure Sent To Roundup MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Feb. 15 transferred to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California the case of a man who contends that his exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, caused him to develop NK/T-cell lymphoma (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).



Judge: Monsanto's Claim For Recovery Of Costs Related To PCB Contamination Fails
SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on Feb. 14 dismissed a counterclaim brought by Monsanto Co. and its affiliates against the city of Spokane, ruling that the company failed to state a claim for recovering costs from the city for remediating its groundwater, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (City of Spokane v. Monsanto Company, et al., No. 15-00201, E.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20846).



Judge: Claims Processor Must Not Contact Nuclear Waste Settlement Class Members
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Feb. 14 ordered a third-party claims-processing company to cease communications with members of a settlement class in connection with a $375 million deal between residents and Dow Chemical Co. related to injuries suffered from exposure to nuclear waste (Merilyn Cook, et al. v. Rockwell International Corp., et al., No. 90-181, D. Colo.).



Judge Says Trespass, Nuisance Claims In Groundwater Contamination Case Valid
ALBANY, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Feb. 6 partially dismissed some groundwater contamination claims brought by a class of residents against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. for allegedly contaminating their drinking water with perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8), ruling that the plaintiffs' trespass and nuisance claims were valid (Michelle Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., No. 16-917, N.D. N.Y.).



Groundwater Contamination Case Should Be Stayed Pending Appeal, Groups Argue
TRENTON, N.J. - Environmental advocacy groups on Feb. 14 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court contending that the court should stay their groundwater contamination case against NL Industries Inc. pending appeal (Raritan Baykeeper Inc., et al. v. NL Industries Inc., et al., No. 09-4117, D. N.J.).



22 Plaintiffs: California Utility Is Liable For Arsenic, Uranium In Drinking Water
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Multiple California residents, in separate lawsuits based on a boilerplate complaint, on Feb. 13 filed their third amended complaints against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGE) alleging that they had suffered "irreparable harm health injuries as a direct result of being poisoned with chemicals" from PGE's operations (Barbara A. Vinson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 16-514, C.D. Calif.).



Judge Dismisses 1 Cause Of Action In Groundwater Case, Says Other Claims Stand
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota on Feb. 15 dismissed one cause of action but sustained the majority of a city's groundwater contamination lawsuit against 3M Co., finding that the company's argument that the city has not been deprived of its ability to use the groundwater is "unavailing" (City of Lake Elmo v. 3M Company, No. 16-2557, D. Minn.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22202).



Maryland Panel Reverses; Lead Paint Claim Against Property Managers Valid
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A panel of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Feb. 9 reversed a trial court ruling and found that a real estate management company and its officials that were sued by a woman who contends that she was poisoned by lead-based paint while living in an apartment managed by the company were not entitled to summary judgment dismissing the claim (Shanece Coley v. 23rd Street Realty Company, et al., No. 2203, Sept. Term 2015, Md. Spec. App., 2017 Md. App. LEXIS 160.).



Panel Reverses, Says Lead Paint Poisoning Claim Should Be Dismissed
NEW YORK - A New York appellate court on Feb. 10 reversed a trial court ruling and concluded that a realty management company was entitled to summary judgment on a lead-poisoning claim on grounds that the plaintiff failed to show that his cognitive deficits were caused by exposure to lead-based paint (Adrian T., by his mother and natural guardian Filiberta T. v. Millshan Realty Co. LLC, No. 2751, 22004/06, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1047).



U.S. Supreme Court Justice Grants Lago Agrio Parties Extension To File Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Jan. 19 granted an extension for time to file a petition for writ of certiorari for a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney who challenge a fraud ruling with regard to an $18.5 billion judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16A686, and Hugo Gerardo Camacho Naranjo v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16A714, U.S. Sup.).



4 More Cancer Cases Against Monsanto Transferred To Roundup MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Jan. 31 issued a conditional transfer order sending four glyphosate injury cases to the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, adding still more cases in which the plaintiffs allege that their exposure to the Roundup herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, No. 2741, JPMDL).



Professor, University: Glyphosate Documents Sought By Monsanto Are Confidential
SAN FRANCISCO - A professor and the university where she teaches filed a brief in California federal court on Jan. 12 contending that documents that were subpoenaed related to research on injuries allegedly caused by glyphosate exposure are property of the World Health Organization (WHO) and neither the professor nor the university are permitted to disclose them (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).



Louisiana Couple Says Monsanto Fraudulently Concealed Danger Related To Glyphosate
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana couple on Jan 31 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in Louisiana federal court, contending that the company's negligence and fraud led to the wife's exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and caused her to develop cancer (Bennierita Smith, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 17-844, E.D. La.).



Canadian Court: Lago Agrio Plaintiffs' Damages Claim 'Cannot Succeed'
TORONTO - A Canadian court on Jan. 20 dismissed a claim against Chevron Canada by plaintiffs who sought to recover damages that were handed down in a ruling by an Ecuadorean court related to injuries sustained from an oil rig explosion (Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, No. CV-12-9808-00CL, Ontario Super.).



C8 Plaintiff: Damages Phases Of Trial Against DuPont Should Not Be Bifurcated
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A man who sued E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Jan. 24 filed a brief in Ohio federal court arguing that every argument asserted by the company for bifurcating the compensatory and punitive damages phases of trial has previously been rejected by the court (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



DuPont: C8 Lawsuit Should Be Dismissed With Prejudice; Claims Are Barred
COLUMBUS, Ohio - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. on Feb. 1 answered a complaint filed in the perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) injury multidistrict litigation, arguing that the case should be dismissed with prejudice in its entirety on grounds that the claims are barred because the plaintiff assumed a risk and/or was contributorily negligent (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



Residents Seek $722.4 Million In Damages From EPA For Flint, Mich., Water Crisis
DETROIT - A group of Flint, Mich., residents on Jan. 30 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking $722.4 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged mishandling of the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint (Jan Burgess, et al. v. United States of America, No. 17-10291, E.D. Mich.).



Residents: Water Crisis Defendants' Evidence Does Not Call For Ending Injunction
DETROIT - Plaintiffs who sued Michigan state officials in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Jan. 26 filed a brief arguing that the state defendants' submissions of supplemental evidence does not support their claim that the Flint, Mich., Water System is complying with monitoring and corrosion control requirements that are part of federal regulations (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).



Company: Flint Water Case Should Be Dismissed; Pleading Requirements Not Met
DETROIT - A group of consultants sued by Michigan residents who contend that they share liability for the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., on Jan. 23 filed a brief in Michigan federal court supporting their motion to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that the plaintiffs "fail to meet the basic requirement of establishing who did what" (Luke Waid, et al. v. Gov. Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10444, E.D. Mich.).



Michigan Law Requires Agencies To Notify Residents When Water Exceeds Lead Standards
LANSING, Mich. - As part of public health improvements proposed in response to the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., Gov. Rick Snyder on Jan. 6 signed a bill that requires the agencies that supply drinking water to municipalities to notify local residents within three business days when their drinking water is not in compliance with state standards for lead.



Water District: MTBE Damages Properly Disclosed; Expert Is Qualified To Testify
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California water district filed a brief in California federal court on Jan. 25 defending the qualifications of one of its experts to testify in a groundwater contamination case involving methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). The water district also contends in a separate brief that its claim for $34 million in damages "will be amply supported" by the testimony provided (Orange County Water District v. Unocal Corporation, et al., No. 03-1742, C.D. Calif.).



Company: Rhode Island Fails To Establish Jurisdiction In MTBE Contamination Case
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - One of the chemical companies sued by Rhode Island for allegedly contaminating the state's drinking water supply with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on Jan. 11 moved in Rhode Island federal court to dismiss the lawsuit on that grounds personal jurisdiction does not exist (State of Rhode Island v. Alon Refining Krotz Springs, No. 16-495, D. R.I.).



Monsanto: Port Of Portland PCB Lawsuit Based On 'Insufficient Facts'
PORTLAND, Ore. - Monsanto Co. and two of its affiliates on Jan. 27 filed a brief in Oregon federal court contending that a district court should dismiss the Port of Portland's lawsuit alleging groundwater contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on grounds that the allegations are barred by the state's product liability statute and there are "insufficient facts alleged to sustain a cognizable legal theory" (Port of Portland v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 17-15, D. Ore.).



Judge Denies Lone Pine Order In Tainted Groundwater Case Against Johnson Controls
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on Jan. 25 denied a company's motion seeking a case management order referred to as a Lone Pine order in a trichloroethylene (TCE) groundwater contamination case, concluding that such an order should be used only in "exceptional cases" (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).



Judge: Separate Trial Not Warranted In Case About Water Contamination
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 23 denied a motion by a third-party defendant seeking to try third-party claims separately in a case where two environmental advocacy groups sued a glass manufacturer for groundwater contamination, finding that the third-party defendant did not show that separate trials were necessary (PennEnvironment, et al. v. PPG Industries Inc., et al., No. 12-342, W.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8683).



Judge: Report 'Sufficiently Reliable' As Evidence In Tainted Groundwater Case
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 25 ruled that an expert opinion provided by a village that sued two companies alleging groundwater contamination from vinyl chloride that leaked into the water system was "sufficiently reliable," and he refused to exclude it from evidence (Village of Sauk Village v. Roadway Express Inc., et al., No. 15-9183, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10478).



Judge: 2 Claims Remain Valid In Florida Groundwater Contamination Lawsuit
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 3 dismissed many claims against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and two companies alleged to have contaminated local groundwater, but the judge said that two causes of action remained against Hercules Inc. (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).



New Jersey Governor, School: Case Alleging Lead-Tainted Drinking Water Fails
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, members of his administration and the State-Operated School District of the City of Newark, N.J., on Jan. 30 filed two briefs in New Jersey federal court arguing that the lawsuit brought by residents who contend that the state and the school district are liable for lead-contaminated drinking water in the school district should be dismissed for lack of standing and failure to state a claim (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).



Panel Dismisses Lead Poisoning Case Because Defendants Didn't Own Premises
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Jan. 31 reversed a trial court's ruling and said a lead-poisoning complaint brought against multiple defendants should be dismissed because the evidence shows that none of the defendants owned the property in question when the plaintiffs lived there (Arelie F., et al. v. Cathedral Properties LLC, et al., No. 2914, 350662/09, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 585).



Judge Affirms Denial Of Agent Orange Benefits For Veteran's Daughter
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Jan. 30 affirmed a Board of Veterans Appeals ruling that denied education benefits to the daughter of a veteran who died from heart disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange, concluding that the board did not fail its "duty to assist" (Torie S. Garrett v. Robert D. Snyder, No. 15-2724, U.S. App., Vet. Clms., 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 77).



Widow's Benefits Claim Related To Husband's Agent Orange Exposure Denied
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Jan. 26 ruled that a veteran's widow failed to show that the Board of Veterans Appeals (the Board) erred when it denied her claim for benefits related to her late husband's death from cancer, which she claimed was connected to his exposure to Agent Orange (Diana L. Moczynski v. Robert D. Snyder, No. 15-3737, Vet. Clms., 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 59).



2nd Circuit Says Insured's Notice Of Environmental Claims Was Not Timely
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 affirmed that two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute did not waive their right to assert a late-notice defense because the insured's notice of the underlying environmental claims was not timely (Travelers Indemnity Co., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 15-3117, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1471).



Jury Awards $10.5M In Punitive Damages To Man Injured By C8 From DuPont Plant
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Jan. 5 awarded a man $10.5 million in punitive damages plus attorney fees against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for cancer he said he had developed as a result of exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



Judge In DuPont C8 Case Rules Cancer Phobia Damages Valid; Some Experts Excluded
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. for alleged injuries connected to exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (known as C8) on Jan. 10 issued a group of orders pertaining to punitive damages, damages related to cancer phobia and the admissibility of expert testimonies (In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. C8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL No. 2433, No. 13-2433, S.D. Ohio).



Monsanto Misrepresented Safety Of Roundup, Man Says; Exposure Resulted In Cancer
DENVER - A Colorado man on Jan. 6 filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. in the U.S. District Court of the District of Colorado, alleging that he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) from exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, and that the company knowingly misrepresented that the product was safe (John Holm v. Monsanto Co., No. 17-56, D. Colo.).



Monsanto Co. Denies Exposure To Roundup Could Have Caused Man's 'Alleged' Cancer
SAN FRANCISCO - Monsanto Co. on Jan. 6 filed an answer in one of the cases that is part of the multidistrict litigation pending in California federal court related to injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, denying that exposure to the herbicide "did or could have caused" the plaintiff's "alleged" non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) (In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, N.D. Calif.).



3 Glyphosate Injury Cases Transferred To Roundup Products Liability MDL
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Jan. 6 transferred three more glyphosate-injury lawsuits to the Roundup products litigation MDL pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (In Re: Roundup Production Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2741, JPMDL).



Defendants In Flint Water Crisis Case Say Injunction Should Be Dissolved
DETROIT - State officials on Jan. 6 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan contending that it should dissolve a preliminary injunction that ordered the officials to provide door-to-door delivery of bottled water to the residents of Flint, Mich., arguing that there is no legal basis for the District Court to exercise jurisdiction over the defendants (Concerned Pastors for Social Action, et al. v. Nick A. Khouri, et al., No. 16-10277, E.D. Mich.).



Employees: Venue For Flint Water Case Should Be Changed On Constitutional Grounds
DETROIT - Employees with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Dec. 30 filed a brief in Michigan federal court, contending that the plaintiffs who sued them for injuries connected to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., "fail to recognize that the MDEQ Defendants rely primarily on constitutional grounds in support of their request to change venue" and that those rights "trump statutory law" (Myia McMillian, et al. v. Governor Richard D. Snyder, et al., No. 16-10796, E.D. Mich.).



Company: Residents Should Return Privileged Documents In Tainted Groundwater Case
GREENVILLE, Miss. - The company sued by a group of residents seeking damages for personal injuries and groundwater contamination caused by hexavalent chromium and trichloroethylene (TCE) on Dec. 23 filed a brief in Mississippi federal court contending that the plaintiffs should return privileged documents that were obtained through a bankruptcy asset sale because the company did not forfeit its privileges to them (Joe E. Sledge, et al. v. Meritor Inc., et al., No. 16-CV-053, N.D. Miss.).



Judge: Testimonies Relevant To Groundwater Claim; Motion To Exclude Denied
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on Jan. 3 denied a motion to exclude two experts for Hercules Inc. in a groundwater contamination lawsuit, ruling that their respective testimonies were relevant to the issue of health risks posed by the alleged contamination (Lee Hollingsworth, et al. v. Hercules Inc., No. 15-113, S.D. Miss.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 299).



Groundwater Contamination Cost Recovery Suit Not Time-Barred, Judge Says
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on Jan. 6 denied a motion for summary judgment in a cost recovery lawsuit for groundwater contamination allegedly caused by a landfill, ruling that the case was not barred by a statute of limitations (Charter Township of Lansing, et al. v. Lansing Board of Water and Light, No. 14-514, W.D. Mich.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2280).



Chevron: Decision By 9th Circuit Supports Its Claim That Class Status Not Proper
SAN FRANCISCO - Chevron Corp. on Jan. 10 filed a brief in California federal court contending that a recent decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals supports its contention that a proposed class representing Nigerian residents who contend that they have been injured as a result of an oil rig explosion should not be granted class status because the plaintiffs do not meet the criteria for certification (Natto Iyela Gbarabe v. Chevron Corporation, No. 14-173, N.D. Calif.).



Lead-Poisoning Case Arises From 'Misinterpretation' Of Water Tests, School Says
TRENTON, N.J. - The State-Operated School District of the City of Newark, N.J., on Dec. 27 filed a brief in New Jersey federal court arguing that the lead-poisoning lawsuit brought against it by a group of residents should be dismissed because the claims "arise out of their misinterpretation of test results" related to water sources in the school district that tested positive for lead (Veronica Branch, et al v. Chris Christie, et al., No. 16-2467, D. N.J.).



EPA Proposes Ban On Trichloroethylene, Cites 'Unreasonable Risks' To Health
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 11 advertised in the Federal Register a proposed rule to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile organic compound used in industrial and commercial processes, due to "unreasonable risks" to health.