Stories

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

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "autism" ...

  • Uncovered: The Vaccine Debate

    In this exclusive investigation, Full Measure uncovered evidence that the federal government covered up scientific evidence and testimony that childhood vaccines can trigger autism in certain susceptible children. This evidence was made known to Department of Justice attorneys by their own scientific expert as the government fought vaccine-autism claims. The expert, Johns Hopkins pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, is one of world’s leading authorities in his field.
  • Chemical Drift, the Second-Hand Smoke of Big Agriculture

    This series documented the dangers posed by agricultural chemicals which are applied both aerially and by land equipment. Some estimates show up to 90 percent of applied chemicals fail to hit the targeted site and drift hundreds of miles in the environment, contaminating people, water systems, air and animals. The series revealed that current safety standards were based on old theories of toxicology, which assume that the danger of chemical exposure is based on the dose. “The dose makes the poison” was the theory. That is not true with endocrine disrupting chemical pesticides that are non-monotonic, meaning that even at very low levels of exposure, significant damage can occur, especially if exposure is during childhood or fetal development. In “Pitchfork Rebels,” Howard wrote about organic farmers training to install environmental sampling devices known as Drift Catchers on their land. The resulting chemical analysis showed the presence of chlorpyrifos, an endocrine disrupting chemical insecticide linked to ADHD and autism, had drifted to their farms from an aerial application more than two miles away. The EPA banned all uses of chlorpyrifos in homes and daycare centers because of its toxicity for children, but it is still allowed in agricultural uses. This article documented the toxin’s drift to an organic farm where three young sisters live.
  • Dangerous Discipline

    Thousands of American school children who suffer with autism or other behavioral problems have been injured and dozens have died at the hands of poorly trained teachers and staff who tried to subdue them using unsafe and at times unduly harsh techniques, an ABC News Brian Ross investigation has found. With no national standards for how a teacher can restrain an unruly child, the ABC News Nightline investigation found school officials around the country have been employing a wide array of methods ranging from sitting on children, handcuffing them, and locking them in padded, “seclusion rooms” for hours. One school even employed a device that delivered an electric shock. Dramatic, rare video, moving interviews with students as young as ten years old , exclusive interviews with parents whose children died during the use of restraints, confrontational interviews with school administrators plus original research by Producers Angela Hill and Matthew Mosk resulted in a stark and disturbing comprehensive investigation that aired on every ABC News platform nationwide: ABC News Nightline, World News with Diane Sawyer, ABC Radio and affiliate stations broadcast stories, as well as numerous print and video stories which were published on ABC News.com. The major investigative effort not only exposed the problem but explored the solution in a profile of the Centennial School in Pennsylvania, where special needs students are never physically restrained. The report was welcomed by parent groups, advocates for the disabled, and legislators for bringing national attention to a largely hidden and growing problem.
  • The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

    Is hydraulic fracking for natural gas safe? That’s one of the big questions surrounding America’s fracking boom. Homeowners with these gas wells literally in their backyards have complained of contaminated drinking water wells and noxious fumes. The natural gas industry has said that except for the occasional accident, fracking is not to blame. The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the natural gas industry, says fracking is safe and there’s no proof that the practice causes significant damage to the environment or human health. In our series, NPR decided to investigate the evidence the industry bases its safety claim on, and we found something astonishing. Despite some 200,000 fracked wells, very little data have been collected and few rigorous studies have been done to show whether fracking is safe, or whether it is dangerous. Not by local officials, state officials, universities or federal agencies. Essentially there is a data void on this issue. The type of scientific work that tied lead, tobacco smoke and smog to health problems, or that exonerated vaccines as the cause of autism, has not been done. With its safety claim, the industry is actively misleading the public into believing its practices have been solidly vetted and found untarnished. As we show in our seven part series, this is far from the truth.
  • The Fracking Boom, Missing Answers

    Is hydraulic fracking for natural gas safe? That’s one of the big questions surrounding America’s fracking boom. Homeowners with these gas wells literally in their backyards have complained of contaminated drinking water wells and noxious fumes. The natural gas industry has said that except for the occasional accident, fracking is not to blame. The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the natural gas industry, says fracking is safe and there’s no proof that the practice causes significant damage to the environment or human health. In our series, NPR decided to investigate the evidence the industry bases its safety claim on, and we found something astonishing. Despite some 200,000 fracked wells, very little data have been collected and few rigorous studies have been done to show whether fracking is safe, or whether it is dangerous. Not by local officials, state officials, universities or federal agencies. Essentially there is a data void on this issue. The type of scientific work that tied lead, tobacco smoke and smog to health problems, or that exonerated vaccines as the cause of autism, has not been done. With its safety claim, the industry is actively misleading the public into believing its practices have been solidly vetted and found untarnished. As we show in our seven part series, this is far from the truth.
  • Broken Shield: Police force fails to protect state’s most vulnerable residents

    Decades ago, California created a special police force to investigate crimes and unexplained injuries inflicted upon some of society’s most vulnerable citizens – men and women with severe autism and cerebral palsy living in taxpayer-funded institutions. This police force, the Office of Protective Services, works exclusively at state developmental centers that have been the scene of horrific abuses. We sought to bring this story to readers in many forms, from working on all platforms, distributing condensed versions and delivering broadcast video stories to our partners, to creating a graphic novel video on one particularly human story -- a woman who was raped, apparently by a janitor. We also created an ebook of the series of stories and an interactive tracker that detailed key milestones of legislation drafted and signed into law. Producing this work on every platform helped to maximize audience reach and heighten the impact.
  • Broken Shield

    Decades ago, California created a special police force to patrol exclusively at its five state developmental centers – taxpayer-funded institutions where patients with severe autism and cerebral palsy have been beaten, tortured and raped by staff members. But California Watch found that this state force, the Office of Protective Services, does an abysmal job bringing perpetrators to justice. Reporter Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, exposed the depths of the abuse inside these developmental centers while showing how sworn officers and detectives wait too long to start investigations, fail to collect evidence and ignore key witnesses – leading to an alarming inability to solve crimes inflicted upon some of society’s most vulnerable citizens. Dozens of women were sexually assaulted inside state centers, but police investigators didn’t order “rape kits” to collect evidence, a standard law enforcement tool. Police waited so long to investigate one sexual assault that the staff janitor accused of rape fled the country, leaving behind a pregnant patient incapable of caring for a child. The police force’s inaction also allowed abusive caregivers to continue molesting patients – even after the department had evidence that could have stopped future assaults. Many of the victims chronicled by California Watch are so disabled they cannot utter a word. Gabrielson gave them a resounding voice. Our Broken Shield series prompted far-reaching change, including a criminal investigation, staff retraining and new laws – all intended to bring greater safeguards and accountability.
  • Special Care, Unknown Costs

    The series took gave readers a look inside New Jersey's special education system. It's findings show how there is no one held accountable when students in the system fall through the cracks.
  • Dubious Medicine

    Alternative treatments have become very popular among autism patients and their families. Furthermore, physicians are promoting and using these treatments. This investigation reveals that these treatments are unproven and very risky to the children receiving the treatments. Also, in the investigation, they found a number of disappointing results from the few clinical trials, even though many families believe their children have benefited.
  • Combating Autism From Within

    This series shows both sides of the vaccine debate concerning mercury's possible role in causing autism. Also, the stories touch on conflicts of interest with drug companies paying and conducting studies with government support, which may prevent users from knowing the truth.