Reuters finds lead levels higher than Flint’s in thousands of locales

Flint, Michigan, is likely the most well-known lead hotspot in America. But a Reuters examination of lead testing results across the country found that Flint doesn’t rank among the nation’s most dangerous areas for lead poisoning. Reuters found almost 3,000 places with poisoning rates much higher than the Michigan city. To identify these locations, Reuters…

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Risk of asbestos exposure increases with renovation boom

As renovation work soars in Massachusetts, the risk of running into asbestos embedded in old buildings also increases, putting some laborers in grave danger. After analyzing five years of enforcement cases, The Eye and WBUR found that huge gaps exist between what state and federal regulators say are mandated safety standards and what’s actually happening…

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National Transportation Safety Board recommendations are continually ignored, with fatal consequences

NJ Advance Media found that 20 percent of the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations are never followed, and there’s nothing the board can do about it. The organization, which is responsible for transportation accident investigations across the country, has no enforcement powers and must rely on the power of persuasion to influence government regulators and…

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Indianapolis streetlight ban causes hundreds of pedestrian deaths

Investigators at the Indianapolis Star uncovered the deadly results of a 20-year-old city hiatus on building sidewalks and a 35-year-old moratorium on street lights, put in place in an attempt to save money on the city’s $2.9 million annual electric bill. Reporters found that 585 pedestrians had been killed in Marion County since the 1980…

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How San Diego’s vision for a world-class waterfront vanished

The waterfront along downtown San Diego’s North Harbor Drive is some of the most valuable property in Southern California, and in 2001, its future was seemingly mapped out: The waterfront would be turned into large parks and public spaces. Today, however, the waterfront is filled with piers reserved for cruise ships and tourists, parking lots…

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Memo allowed Cincinnati sewer district to spend $680 million without oversight

A six-line memo written in 2007 allowed the Metropolitan Sewer District in Cincinnati, Ohio to spend as much as $680 million in public funds with little to no oversight. A Cincinnati Enquirer investigation found that the 2007 memo written by a former city manager “eliminated critical checks and balances just as the sewer district embarked…

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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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Flawed tax collection system allows investors to profit from neighborhood decay

Large companies are purchasing hundreds of homes in Indianapolis’ poorest neighborhoods, taking advantage of government sales and leaving behind blighted properties and unpaid tax bills. An investigation by The Indianapolis Star found that investors abandoned more than 6,000 properties and left Marion County with a least $28 million in uncollected taxes. Many of the out-of-state…

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North Carolina has the second-highest number of high-hazard dams nationwide

North Carolina has about 1,200 high-hazard dams, according to an analysis by WRAL. A dam is considered “high-hazard” if loss of life is likely if the structure fails. North Carolina has almost six times the number of high-hazard dams than South Carolina, which has seen several dam failures due to historic rain and flooding. Of…

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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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