Data mining for deadly drug combinations

A Chicago Tribune investigation targets a health problem that sends thousands of Americans to the hospital each year: Life-threatening interactions between prescription medications. In the first story, reporters launched a unique collaboration with data scientists and pharmacologists to identify several pairs of drugs that, when taken together, may increase the risk of a fatal heart…

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Tracing the origins of a mysterious disease that cost the pork industry $1 billion

More than two years ago a rare and fast-spreading virus arrived in the U.S., killing hundreds of baby pigs and costing the pork industry roughly $1 billion. Harvest Public Media spent months examining the outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, a virus never before seen in the U.S., studying documents and talking to scientists and other…

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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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Soil, water samples show toxic heavy metals leaking into Arizona waterways

Arizona is home to an estimated 100,000 abandoned mines, but no state or federal agency has an accurate count of how many of them are leaking toxic heavy metals into the environment and waterways. CBS 5 Investigates collected soil and water samples from the areas around six old uranium, lead, silver and copper mines. The…

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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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Hundreds of Portland homes demolished with asbestos inside

Asbestos is at its most dangerous when it crumbles, sending cancer-causing fibers airborne. That’s why state and federal rules call for careful removal of the substance before any home demolition, with workers wearing respirators and full polyethelene suits to protect themselves. Weak state oversight has allowed Oregon developers to routinely ignore those rules, a data…

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Common solvent used in paint strippers continues to kill

Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of methylene chloride, the U.S. keeps the dangerous solvents on the shelves. The chemical, a common ingredient in products such as paint strippers, has been known to cause sudden asphyxiation and heart attacks for years. According to a Center for Public Integrity investigation, at least 56 accidental exposure…

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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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Hundreds of biolab accidents, safety violations and near misses put people at risk

A USA TODAY Network investigation reveals that hundreds of lab mistakes, safety violations and near-miss incidents have occurred in biological laboratories coast to coast in recent years, putting scientists, their colleagues and sometimes even the public at risk. Oversight of biological research labs is fragmented, often secretive and largely self-policing, the investigation found. And even…

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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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