Monday, October 5, 2015

Improving Access to Chronic Disease Data

"Interested in chronic disease data, risk factors, health indicators, and policy measures? CDC is making all these data and indicators much easier to access and use. Use the data to describe the burden of chronic disease as well as common risk factors, identify research gaps, monitor population trends, and evaluate programs.
Chronic disease data and health indicators are widely used by researchers, scientists, students, health communicators, health educators, policy-makers, epidemiologists, state and local health departments, and many more. Since the recent launch of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) new open data portal, there have been over 1.3 million views to 105 chronic disease data sets totaling over 33 million rows of data. The drive to bring this data together in one place with common tools was to make CDC's chronic disease data easier to access and use by both current and new audiences. In keeping with the Federal Government's Open Data Initiative, this initiative is intended to promote openness, interoperability, and innovation..."
Chronic disease data

Protecting Kids from Environmental Exposure

"Children’s rapid development during the fetal period through early childhood makes them more vulnerable to environmental exposure. Contact the nearest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit to learn how to protect your child from exposure to health hazards in the environment.

What do these situations have in common?

  • You're renovating an older home. While you're sanding window frames, some paint chips fall on the floor. Your toddler puts them in his mouth.
  • You live near a former industrial site. Your child loves playing in the dirt—and you've caught her eating mud pies.
  • You enjoy gardening and use pesticides to protect your garden. But you're pregnant and wonder if pesticide exposure could harm your unborn child.
If you guessed that in each situation, children are exposed to harmful substances in their environments, you're right!..."
Environmental Exposures

Healthy Pets Healthy People

"Keeping Pets Healthy Keeps People Healthy Too!
Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can Girl holding a catincrease fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. But there's something else you should know.
Pets sometimes carry germs that can make people sick. The diseases people get from animals are known as zoonotic (zoe-oh-NOT-ic) diseases.
It is hard to know which animals could be carrying zoonotic diseases, especially since pets carrying these germs often look healthy and normal. Here are some tips that can help you and your pets stay healthy:
  • Take your pet to its veterinarian regularly so it stays in good health.
  • Practice good hygiene around your pets so they don't unintentionally pass germs to you.
  • Learn about diseases different types of pets can spread - just in case..."


National Inventory of Dams

"Congress first authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to inventory dams in the United States with the National Dam Inspection Act (Public Law 92-367) of 1972. The NID was first published in 1975, with a few updates as resources permitted over the next ten years. The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-662) authorized the Corps to maintain and periodically publish an updated NID, with re-authorization and a dedicated funding source provided under the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-3). The Corps also began close collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state regulatory offices to obtain more accurate and complete information. The National Dam Safety and Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-310) and the Dam Safety Act of 2006 reauthorized the National Dam Safety Program and included the maintenance and update of the NID by the Corps. Most recently, the NID was reauthorized as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.

The NID consists of dams meeting at least one of the following criteria;
1) High hazard classification - loss of one human life is likely if the dam fails,
2) Significant hazard classification - possible loss of human life and likely significant property or environmental destruction,
3) Equal or exceed 25 feet in height and exceed 15 acre-feet in storage,
4) Equal or exceed 50 acre-feet storage and exceed 6 feet in height..."


Global Legal Monitor

"The Global Legal Monitor is an online publication from the Law Library of Congress covering legal news and developments worldwide. It is updated frequently and draws on information from official national legal publications and reliable press sources. You can find previous news by searching the Global Legal Monitor..."
Global Legal Monitor

Friday, October 2, 2015

Adult Obesity in the U.S

"Adult obesity remains high across the U.S. Learn what you can do to get to a healthy weight.
Obesity is a common, serious, and costly health issue that affects people in every state in the nation. New data show that at least 1 of 5 adults in every state has obesity. This condition is linked to some of the leading causes of death, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Obesity and the health problems it causes cost the U.S. health care system as much as $147 billion per year.

States differ in their levels of obesity.

The percentage of people with obesity varies from state to state, and the problem is worse in some parts of the country than in others. The percentage of people with obesity also varies by other factors, such as race and ethnicity. These differences may be partly due to difference in people's access to healthy foods and safe places to be physically active. Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables. Safe routes for walking or biking do not exist in some neighborhoods. Some communities do not have parks and recreation centers that people can get to easily..."

HHS launches resources system to improve disaster preparedness

"Health and emergency preparedness professionals now have access to the nation’s first and most comprehensive system of resources designed specifically to help communities better prepare for and manage the health impacts of disasters.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) features resource materials, a help line, just-in-time suggestions and tools to share information gleaned from real-life experiences in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters..."

Disaster preparedness

Child Nutrition Programs: Spending and Policy Options

"Several federal programs support children’s nutritional needs. In 2014, the federal government spent about $20 billion to reimburse schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for children’s meals. Those programs benefit mainly school-age children from low income households. Other nutrition programs provide benefits directly to such households: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly the Food Stamp program) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)..."
Child nutrition

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Supreme Court: A Legal Analysis of Young v. United Parcel Service

"In 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Young v. United Parcel Service. 1 In the case, a United Parcel Service (UPS) worker named Peggy Young challenged her employer’s refusal to grant her a light-duty work assignment while she was pregnant, claiming that UPS’s actions violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).2 In a highly anticipated ruling, the Justices fashioned a new test for determining when an employer’s refusal to provide accommodations for a pregnant worker constitutes a violation of the PDA, and the Court sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration in light of these new standards.
This report begins with a discussion of the facts in the Young case, followed by an overview of the PDA. The report then provides an analysis of the Young case, its implications, and a potential legislative response..."

Your home loan toolkit: A step-by-step guide

Find information on home loans in this recently published toolkit from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection  Bureau.
Home loans

Know Before You Owe: Making the mortgage process easier for you

"Since opening our doors over four years ago we’ve heard from homebuyers that the process of buying a home is overwhelming and confusing. We’ve heard that closing is often rushed, not allowing enough time to review before signing on the dotted line. For consumers who apply for most mortgages on or after October 3, 2015, the stress of shopping for a mortgage will be reduced, as our new mortgage disclosure rule takes effect. The new rule and disclosures ease the process of taking out a mortgage, helping you save money, and ensuring you know before you owe.
Here’s what will change:
  • Four overlapping disclosure forms will be streamlined into two forms, the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure.
  • You’ll have more time to review your closing documents. Currently, lenders must give you your HUD-1 Settlement Statement disclosure 24 hours in advance, if you request it; after October 3, you’ll receive your Closing Disclosure three business days before you sign the forms and accept the terms of your mortgage, no request needed.
Here’s how these changes will improve the mortgage process:
  • The new forms will make it easier to understand complicated mortgage terms.
  • The Loan Estimate makes it easier to shop around and compare loan offers from multiple lenders. Consider applying for loans from at least three lenders before choosing a mortgage so you can find the best deal for you.
  • The three days required between getting your Closing Disclosure and signing on the dotted line allow you to make sure there aren’t major changes from the deal you were offered on your Loan Estimate. It also gives you time to ask your lender all the questions you might have about the terms of your mortgage and consult with a lawyer or housing counselor..."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A New Online Tool to Help Growers Select the Right Cover Crop

"Whether you’re a home gardener or a commercial grower of vegetables, cotton, or other agricultural crops, as soon as the growing season is over, you may want to consider planting cover crops—grasses, legumes and small grains that protect and improve the soil.
Cover crops, which are typically grown off season, help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter and control weeds. At the same time, they can lessen the effects of extreme weather conditions such as drought and help improve water and air quality as well as wildlife habitat.
But how do you know which cover crops are right for you? Although a lot of information is available about individual cover crops, there’s a need to show how these crops could potentially complement one another when grown together.
An online tool developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists is a good place to start..."

Cover crop

EPA Adds Five Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List and Proposes an Additional Seven

"Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding five hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A separate action includes a proposal to add seven sites to the list.

“Since the creation of the Superfund program 35 years ago, EPA has been addressing the risk to human health and the environment as well as blight to the economy due to contamination left behind by owners and operators,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups protect communities’ health, their environments and their economic wellbeing, including some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”...
The following seven sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:
• Iowa - PCE Former Dry Cleaner (dry cleaner) in Atlantic, Iowa;
• Illinois - Old American Zinc Plant (zinc smelter) in Fairmont City, Ill.;
• Indiana - West Vermont Drinking Water Contamination (ground water plume) in Indianapolis, Ind.;
• Louisiana - SBA Shipyard (barge construction and maintenance) in Jennings, La.; 
• Nebraska - Iowa-Nebraska Light & Power Co. (former manufactured gas plant) in Norfolk, Neb.; 
• New Jersey - Former Kil-Tone Company (pesticide manufacturer) in Vineland, N.J.; and
• New Mexico - Lea and West Second Street (ground water plume) in Roswell, N.M...

Superfund sites

" Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced the completion of the English Learner Tool Kit, designed to support educators in ensuring equal access to a high-quality education for English Learners (EL). This tool kit complements the English Learner Guidance that was released in January 2015 by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to remind states and school districts of their civil rights obligations to EL students and Limited English Proficient parents..."
Teach Children Learning English

Celebrating Electric Vehicles

"Electric cars are more popular than ever. Earlier this month, drivers shared why they love these sustainable vehicles.
  1. With more than 1 million sold worldwide, plug-in electric vehicles -- also called electric cars or EVs -- are increasingly common on our nation’s roadways. Earlier this month, we highlighted the stories of EV owners across the nation as part of National Drive Electric Week by asking drivers to share their own experience.."