High-interest lenders use campaign donations to head off reform efforts in Virginia

Virginia-based Connection Newspapers dives into campaign finance documents to show how donations from high-interest lenders slosh through the system and influence lawmakers. Businesses like LoanMax and Check Into Cash offer top-dollar contributions to members of a legislative subcommittee who routinely kill efforts to create new consumer protections or limit the amount of interest these companies…

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Some insurance companies charging copays that exceed the customers’ costs

Some major insurance providers label prescription costs as “copays”, but WVUE-TV found in some cases the patient is the only one paying. Through documents and interviews with Pharmacists, WVUE-TV showed how some insurance providers are charging people more than medication costs.   The series revealed the nation’s largest insurance provider, United Healthcare (through its Pharmacy…

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Water systems across the country contain high levels of lead

Flint, Michigan is not alone in its drinking water crisis. A USA TODAY Network investigation identified almost 2,000 water systems across the country that showed excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. These systems reported lead levels that exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards. About 350 of the systems provide drinking water to schools…

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‘Deadly Dentistry’ investigation highlights state data failures, secrecy

Many states fail to keep meaningful statistics on the number of deaths related to dental procedures, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News has found. Texas is one state that does look at deadly dentistry. Since 2000, the state has collected at least 85 death reports. The paper used that number to try to estimate…

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Contaminated soil lingers where apples once grew

At homes and day care centers throughout Central Washington, children play in yards contaminated with lead and arsenic, left over from pesticide spraying decades ago. The state’s Department of Ecology knows about this, and has for decades, according to EarthFix. But many parents and caregivers still do not, despite the risks these chemicals pose specifically to children. The apple industry…

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Formaldehyde-soaked FEMA trailers still home for some, whether they know it or not

After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA rush-ordered more than 100,000 trailers and mobile homes. But those trailers, Grist reports, continue to cause an emergency of their own. As FEMA deployed the new, hastily constructed trailers along the gulf coast, people first noticed the trailers’ smell. Then they noticed they were getting more headaches and nose-bleeds. Respiratory diseases,…

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National chain of medical clinics run by convict

Acting on a tip, the Cincinnati Enquirer began reporting on advertisements for Physicians E.D., a chain of erectile dysfunction clinics. Those stories uncovered nearly a dozen complaints from patients at a suburban Cincinnati location who said they were subjected to high-pressure sales tactics for treatments that they ultimately didn’t want. Then the paper found that…

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Emails reveal FDA was warned years ago about superbugs in medical scopes

State and federal health officials privately urged the Food and Drug Administration nearly six years ago to alert hospitals about contamination risks from specialized medical scopes that have been tied to a recent series of deadly superbug outbreaks. The 2009 appeal came after duodenoscopes were linked to drug-resistant infections in dozens of Florida hospital patients,…

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Security camera feeds at schools, jails easily accessible to the public

Hundreds of thousands of security camera feeds could be open to anyone with an Internet browser, according to a Scripps national investigation. Scripps found schools, jails and stores all with easily accessible video feeds. A security researcher interviewed as part of the investigation reported that three out of four cameras he studied were not secure.…

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After 13 years of wariness, FDA approves five potentially harmful new diet drugs

After 13 years of rejecting new diet drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed five potentially harmful products on the market in the last three years — including two in the last four months. The agency approved the drugs despite the potential for serious side effects — including suicidal thinking, increased heart rate and…

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