Wednesday

Report finds that as many as 1 in 5 U.S. seniors has a mental health or substance abuse problem. The assessment by the Institute of Medicine, an influential government advisory group, said that as the population rapidly ages over the next two decades, millions of baby boomers may have a hard time finding care and services for mental health problems such as depression. Already, at least 5.6 million to 8 million Americans age 65 and older have a mental health condition or substance abuse disorder, the report found. It called that a conservative estimate that does not include a number of disorders. Depressive disorders and psychiatric symptoms related to dementia are the most common. The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal

Three House Democrats introduce car rental safety bill. The measure is known as the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act, named for two sisters from Santa Cruz, Calif., who were killed in 2004 while driving a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser under a safety recall. “If a recall notice has been issued for a rented car, that car should be taken off the road until it’s fixed – it’s that simple,” said U.S. Rep. Lois Capps of California, one of the sponsors. A new Senate version of the safety proposal is expected soon. The legislative efforts mirror a pledge made by Hertz not to rent or sell cars under recall until they are fixed. But firms including Enterprise, which rented the PT Cruiser to the Houcks, declined to sign the pledge. Santa Cruz Sentinel, ABC News

Investigators blame “complete breakdown of safety” for Michigan oil spill disaster. A National Transportation Safety Board probe has found that the 2010 rupture of an Enbridge Inc. pipeline could have been prevented if the company had fixed the line’s known defects. NTSB investigators also faulted the company for taking 17 hours to detect the leak and for a response afterward hampered by a lack of trained personnel and equipment. The July, 2010 accident near Marshall, Mich. — the most expensive oil pipeline spill in U.S. history — sent more than one million gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River and surrounding wetlands. The cost of the ongoing cleanup will exceed $800 million. InsideClimate News

Study finds that some new cookstoves produce more black-carbon emissions than traditional hearths. The research exposes an international challenge faced by governments and nonprofit organizations that, for public health and environmental reasons, have encouraged families to install “improved” stoves. The U.S. has donated $105 million to a United Nations-led effort that aims to put safer cookstoves in 100 million households by 2020. The problem is that many newer models on the market do little to reduce harmful emissions and some actually make matters worse. “It’s a case of the policy getting ahead of the science,” said William Checkley, a researcher from Johns Hopkins University. Environmental Health News

‘Clean coal’ dream far from reality. The U.S. government has spent billions on the technology, which would cut pollution from coal-fired power plants by capturing emissions and storing them deep underground or diverting them to oil and gas fields. But it remains expensive. In the absence of a carbon tax or other laws or regulations mandating the technology, companies have little incentive to invest, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report last month. The report said it is unlikely that utilities will invest substantially in the effort for “many decades.” Six government-funded, full-scale clean coal projects are in operation, but they are designed to demonstrate the technology, not push its widespread deployment. Politico

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein and Bridget Huber

Print Print  

Leave a comment