The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Chemicals" ...

  • IBM - Poisoned Workers?

    NBC News Today reports on IBM workers' lawsuits against the company. Almost 200 former and current employes at the East Fishkill IBM plant have accused the computer giant of an unsafe workplace. The story reveals that the company did nothing to protect the employes from breathing and handling chemicals that were known to be dangerous since the mid-80s. IBM did heed the government warnings about the chemicals 10 years later. Meanwhile, many IBM employees became sick and died of various cancers, or had children with severe birth defects, the NBC reports.
  • Rescuing the River

    A Journal News investigative series reports on the Environmental Protection Agency's $460-million plan "to perform the largest environmental dredging project in the nation's history on a 40-mile section of the Upper Hudson River." The river was contaminated with PCBs, deadly chemicals that have been dumped in the water by General Electric for decades. The toxins destroyed fishing and tainted a Mohawk reservation. The stories question the cost and effectiveness of the dredging plan, which "might not remove PCBs from the river but it would destroy marshes...." The investigation documents the GE high-dollar lobbying and advertising efforts in favor of the argument that "the river will clean itself."
  • The Toxic Workplace: Railroads, Solvents and Sickness

    A Courier-Journal investigative series reveals "how, despite medical warnings, the railroad industry in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s allowed the heavy and largely unprotected use of chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents in their locomotive maintenance shops; how railroads resisted government inspections for almost a decade when solvent use was perhaps its highest and that more than 600 railroaders across the country have since then been diagnosed with permanent brain damage that their doctors blame on the chemicals." The reporters have found evidence that the railroad industry was aware of the danger of toxic chemicals as far back as the 1960s but some companies continued to use them until mid-1990s. CSX Transportation, the largest railroad in the eastern part of the country has so far paid up to $35 in legal settlements, the Courier-Journal reports.
  • Hidden Hazard

    From IRE Contest entry form: "This series, for the first time, brought to light the staggering volume of toxic chemicals released each year into the air, water, land and underground, and the possible contribution of this pollution to the high rates of cancer and other health problems. We found that industries in Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, emitted the highest total volume of toxic pollution in Florida in 1998, the latest year for which federal statistics were available. The county ranked No. 22 nationwide, with industries here emitting more toxic pollution than the entire state of New Jersey. One month after the series was published, federal statistics for 1999 were released, ranking the county No. 18 nationwide."
  • Hazmat Investigation

    WTAE-TV reports on gaping holes in the security of half a dozen companies in Pittsburgh that handle chemicals and hazardous materials. The security had supposedly been beefed up after the September 11th attacks, but hadn't. After learning of the report, the companies took measures to change their security.
  • Smoked Salmon

    Latin Trade reports that the drive to keep Chile the world's largest producer of salmon may carry some serious risks including fostering "super bugs" in the fish, using diseased fish in livestock feed and sushi, and the use of dangerous chemicals.
  • Murky waters

    A Star-Telegram two-part investigation sheds light on water pollution problems caused by the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The story reveals that the airport "sits on underground lakes of jet fuel." It has hemorrhaged toxic waters into the nearby Trinity River tributaries and into Trigg Lake for at least a decade. The major findings are "that pollutants ... have flowed into waters where people fish, that the airport sometimes misrepresented waste problems to investigators and that antifreeze can still escape into creeks despite recent improvements."
  • Risk vs. Risk

    A Governing investigation finds that "when pollution crops up, governments overreact." Determined to clean up everything, public officials tend to spend more taxpayers money than necessary, the story reveals. Now a growing number of regulators look at the need to re-evaluate this approach by initiating changes in state laws and pollution standards. The methods of re-evaluation include cost-benefit analyses and comparative risk projects involving citizens. To illustrate the issue, the reporter points to the case of Columbus, Ohio, where local government may be forced by the Environmental Protection Agency to spend more than $1 billion in order to comply with national pollution control standards regarding drinking water. In fact, local health officials figured out that the amount of chemicals in the water is so minuscule that only one resident would die every 208 years from drinking Columbus' water.
  • Kids at Risk

    This investigation finds that substances in the environment can harm the human brain. The story reveals how polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury in many cases have had devastating effect on children's development throughout the country. A major finding is that protection against such chemicals is still underdeveloped, because the Environmental Protection Agency does not require chemical manufacturers to provide data on possible neurological effects.
  • Welcome To Meth Country

    Sierra reports on the environmental dangers of meth labs. "For every pond of meth produced, between five and six pounds of highly toxic waste is generated." Chemicals and fumes from meth labs can cause cancer, respiratory problems and brain damage. Meth labs present toxic dangers to the officers who have to deal with them and to the environment as a whole.