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EarthTalk®

Dear EarthTalk: I read that car makers had agreed to up fuel economy standards to an average of about 55 miles per gallon by the year 2025, and that specifics were due to be hammered out by the end of 2011. Did this happen and where do things stand now? — Scott Ellis, Norwalk, CA

EarthTalk®

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) defines a disease cluster as “an unusually large number of people sickened by a disease in a certain place and time.” The organization, along with the National Disease Clusters Alliance (NDCA), reported in March 2011 that it had identified 42 disease clusters throughout 13 U.S. states: Texas, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas, all chosen for analysis, states the report, “based on the occurrence of known clusters in the state, geographic diversity, or community concerns about a disease cluster in their area.”