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Health Highlights: Dec. 28, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Court Orders EPA to Speed Update to Lead Paint Rules

A federal court is ordering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a new rule on hazardous lead levels in paint and household dust within the next 90 days -- not the six years proposed by the Trump administration.

While lead paint was banned in the United States 40 years ago, older coatings remain on the walls and ceilings of many of the nation's homes, where it can be breathed in and endanger children's development.

The new expedited order "is going to protect the brains of thousands of children across the country," Eve Gartner, a staff attorney for Earthjustice, told The New York Times. Earthjustice helped argue the case for organizations that support tougher standards.

"It's going to mean that children that otherwise would have developed very elevated blood lead levels will be protected from the damage associated with that, assuming EPA follows the court order," she said.

The new 2-to-1 decision came from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. Already, the Obama administration had proposed its own six-year delay on revisions to lead paint rules, a move the court had called unreasonable.

"Indeed EPA itself has acknowledged that 'lead poisoning is the number one environmental health threat in the U.S. for children ages 6 and younger,' and that the current standards are insufficient," the ruling said, adding, "The children exposed to lead poisoning due to the failure of EPA to act are severely prejudiced by EPA's delay."

An agency spokesman said the EPA is reviewing the court's decision, and would not say if the agency planned to appeal or seek review with the Supreme Court.


Singer Solange Cancels New Year's Performance Due to Medical Condition

The singer Solange Knowles has canceled a performance in South Africa after telling fans on Wednesday that she has been struggling with an autonomic disorder.

In an Instagram posting, the artist said her doctors advised against a long flight at this time, CBS News reported.

"It's so important to me for the people in South Africa, a place that has tremendous meaning to me and that has given me SO SO MUCH, to know why I won't be performing at Afro Punk this [New Year's Eve]," she wrote in the posting.

"The past five months I have been quietly treating, and working through an autonomic disorder," she explained. "It been a journey that hasn't been easy on me . . . Sometimes I feel cool, and other times not so cool at all."

She added, "Right now, my doctors are not clearing me for such an extended lengthy flight, and doing a rigorous show right after." Solange is the sister of Beyonce Knowles.

The singer did not specify what type of autonomic disorder she has, but Mayo Clinic defines an autonomic disorder as a condition that arises from damage to nerves that control blood pressure, temperature control, digestion or bladder function. It may also affect the heart and blood vessels.

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Posted: December 2017

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