President Reagan signed a bill yesterday creating a $30 million revolving fund to help the Health and Human Services Department respond to public health emergencies.
The fund is designed to help the Public Health Service cope with unexpected problems such as the Tylenol tampering tragedy last year and the current concern over Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The act authorizes replenishment at the beginning of each fiscal year to keep it at the $30 million level.
The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed rules to eliminate several loopholes in the regulation of asbestos in work practices.
The changes would prevent road builders from using materials that contain asbestos, which is carcinogenic when airborne, require that asbestos be kept wet during the demolition or renovation of a building and bar all visible emissions of asbestos particles.
In a 1978 decision, the Supreme Court said the 1970 law that created the agency prohibited it from regulating asbestos in work procedures. While the court was deciding the case, however, Congress passed a new law giving the EPA that authority. But when the regulations were reissued in 1977 and 1978, several of the original ones were left out, creating the loopholes.
Linda Chaput, an asbestos project officer for the agency, said, "A lot of people have honored the regulation, even though there was some question of what was in effect and what wasn't. We now have decided we want to keep these provisions in the regulation."
The U.S. Forest Service, for the first time, has put properties on the block as part of the Reagan administration's federal land sales program.
None of the 25 "administrative sites" is within a national forest. But members of Congress had told the Forest Service to notify them before any of its land was offered for sale.
The sites, some of which are adjacent to national forests, include a 66.5-acre work center in Pierce, Idaho; a quarter-acre rangers' residence in Elkhart, Kan.; an acre at Fort Ruger in Honolulu and an old Veterans Administration hospital site in San Fernando, Calif. Most of the properties are less than an acre and are in the West.
Members of Congress whose districts include the properties were notified of the proposal more than a month ago, according to Vernon V. Lindhom, the agency's assistant director of lands. "We have not received, to my knowledge, any replies or protests about the sales."