Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
One-Fifth of Americans Have Medical Debt: Report
A new report says about one-fifth of American consumers, or nearly 43 million people, have unpaid medical bills.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the average amount of medical debt is $1,766, the Associated Press reported.
The federal regulator also found that many Americans with unpaid medical bills are in that situation because they couldn't understand the notices they received from hospitals and insurance companies about the cost of treatment, the AP reported.
Having medical debt can lead to lower credit scores, making it more difficult for people to get loans to buy cars or homes, the AP reported.
"When people fall ill and end up at the hospital with unexpected bills, far too often they have entered into a financial maze," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a speech to be delivered Thursday.
EPA Issues New Rule for Certain Chemicals in Paints, Glues
A new rule to protect Americans from chemicals that can cause birth defects, blood toxicity and other health problems was announced Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The seven ethylene glycol ethers or glymes chemicals are currently used in consumer products such as paints, inks and glues. Under the new rule, companies will be required to have any proposed new uses of these chemicals reviewed by the EPA for possible harmful effects to people or the environment.
"Today's action is part of our continuing efforts to help ensure that chemicals in products we use every day are safe for the American public," Jim Jones, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention at the EPA, said in an agency news release.
"Finalizing this action could prevent an increase in the use of these chemicals and reduce human exposure through ingestion and inhalation," he added.