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seattlepi.com: Health & Science News From the Associated Press





 



Nominee for EPA chemical safety post has deep industry ties

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:35:48 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients' products, according to a review of financial records and his published work by The Associated Press. Michael L. Dourson's nomination as head of EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention was to be considered by a Senate committee Wednesday, but was postponed when the Senate adjourned early for the week. If confirmed, ethics experts said, Dourson's past writings and the money paid to him and a nonprofit he founded could represent potential conflicts of interest.



Key California farm district rejects governor's tunnels plan

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:14:25 UT

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A group of powerful California farmers pulled their support Tuesday from a pair of massive, $16 billion tunnels that would have re-engineered the state's water system in a decisive move that dealt a major blow to the project pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The board of Westlands Water District, the nation's largest supplier of irrigation water to farms, voted to withdraw its participation from the project after more than an hour of tense discussions and comments from farmers who overwhelmingly concluded it was too expensive. After the vote, John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, said the aging water infrastructure must be modernized.



Winners and losers in GOP's last-ditch health overhaul

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:17:43 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal "Obamacare" would redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal financing for insurance coverage, creating winners and losers among individual Americans and states in ways not yet fully clear. Independent analysts say the latest Senate Republican bill is likely to leave more people uninsured than the Affordable Care Act, and allow states to make changes that raise costs for people with health problems or pre-existing medical conditions. After closed-door meetings Tuesday, supporters seemed confident but acknowledged they're not sure if the bill can pass. There's only a narrow window for the Senate to act under special budget rules that expire at the end of the month.



Internal watchdog says EPA mismanaging toxic site cleanups

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:09:18 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cleanups at some U.S. hazardous waste sites have stopped or slowed down because the Environmental Protection Agency does not manage its Superfund staff effectively to match its workload, an internal government watchdog said Tuesday. Such work is at a standstill or moving slowly on at least four Superfund sites where "human exposure is not under control," according to a report from the EPA's inspector general. That means contamination at the sites is unsafe for humans and there is a reasonable expectation that people may be exposed to it, the report said. The report comes as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said the cleanup up of more than 1,300 listed Superfund sites is a priority.



One last last chance: GOP strains for Obamacare repeal votes

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:36:09 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Time growing short, President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders dove into a frantic hunt for votes Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare." The pressure was intense, the outcome uncertain in a Capitol newly engulfed in drama over health care. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose failure to pass an Obamacare repeal bill in July opened a bitter public rift with Trump, pressed hard for the newly revived effort, which had been left for dead as recently as a week or two ago. But in a sign he remained short of votes, McConnell refused to commit to bringing the legislation to the floor. As in July, much of the focus was on Arizona Sen. John McCain.



Hepatitis A outbreak seen in Los Angeles County

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:30:31 UT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Public health authorities on Tuesday declared an outbreak of the highly contagious liver disease hepatitis A in Los Angeles County, the third California region to see significant infections this year. Health officials reported the outbreak to the county Board of Supervisors, which requested a briefing due to the proximity of LA to San Diego, which has had more than 420 cases and 16 deaths since early this year. The Los Angeles County outbreak was declared because two of 10 confirmed cases could not be traced back to either San Diego or to Santa Cruz County, some 300 miles (480 kilometers) to the north, where there have been 69 hepatitis A cases since April, the Department of Public Health said.