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 "carcinogen" ...

  • The PCB Plague

    We discovered that a majority of public schools in Connecticut could be contaminated with toxic, cancer-causing PCBs, but no state or federal law requires schools to test for the carcinogenic chemical. Even though PCBs were banned in 1979, a loophole in federal regulations allows schools to avoid testing for PCBs, leaving the chemical in place where it emits gaseous toxins, and sending PCB particles into the air and ground during and after construction projects where it can remain for decades.
  • Exposed: Decades of Denial on Poisons

    "Exposed: Decades of Denial on Poisons" revealed how, for more than half a century, benzene has taken an unspeakable and largely preventable human toll, while the oil and chemical companies that made or used the potent carcinogen knew it was dangerous long before they told workers or the general public. Over a year, the Center obtained and examined tens of thousands of pages of documents detailing the petrochemical industry’s campaign to undercut the science linking benzene to cancer, and exposing the extent of corporate knowledge about a toxic substance that has killed or impaired millions.
  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful

    Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor, he lived and breathed the Marine Corps and was responsible for training thousands of new recruits. When Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed. As a grief-stricken father, he struggled for years to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of one of the largest water contamination sites in US history. For thirty years, unbeknownst to the Marines living there, the Marine Corps improperly disposed of toxic cleaning solvents that contaminated the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. It is estimated that nearly one million Marines and their families may have been exposed to high levels of carcinogens through the water. 25 years after the wells were finally closed, only a fraction of former residents know about their exposure to the toxic chemicals. In the process of investigating the Camp Lejeune contamination, a larger issue comes into focus - the abysmal environmental record of the military. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense is the United States’ largest polluter, which raises grave questions about environmental conditions at other bases across the country. “Semper Fi: Always Faithful” is a timely and sobering story of the betrayal of US soldiers and is a call to action for more environmental oversight of military sites.
  • "Lifesaving Drugs, Deadly Consequences"

    This investigative piece looks at worker safety issues that affect "the nation's healthcare providers." Health care employees are often put in harms way by handling drugs that are meant to save the "lives of cancer patients," but can be "human carcinogens," too. This report shows that regulation on exposure to these types of drugs in the workplace is weak.
  • Toxic Town

    "A six-week investigation into the environmental contamination and public-health effects in Somerville, Texas caused byt a 110-year-old- wood-treatment facility that for three decades was the nationa's largest manufacturer of railroad cross ties."
  • American Imports, Chinese Deaths

    The U.S. imports $287.8 billion of products from China, however, the Chinese workers have no health and safety regulations. While making the imported products the workers suffer "from fatal occupational disease because they touch and inhale carcinogens," and "have suffered limb and finger amputations because of saw/cutting instruments they use are very old."
  • Water Worries

    "This four part series found serious flaws in management of the Madison Water Utility and, as a result, troubling problems with safety of the city's water supply. The series showed that the utility's response to the contaminant manganese in the tap water of many Madison homes and the potential health impacts of exposure to the mineral was late and inadequate."
  • Industries clean up act -- and OC

    The Orange County Register analyzed EPA records for 221 businesses to find an overall decrease in toxic pollution, though emission of one particular suspected carcinogen increased. Lists the newspaper compiled show the biggest toxic sources in California, a ranking of toxic emissions by zip code, and the biggest toxic sources in Orange County. One story in the package discusses the limitations to the federal law that requires businesses that use one of 310 toxic chemicals to report any releases.
  • Zonolite

    This two-part series focused on a product called Zonolite. For decades it was used as an attic insulation in millions of homes across the United States. Internal documents from the company that mines the raw material, and government agencies found that the product contains tremolite asbestos, one of the most deadly forms of asbestos. It is related to numerous deaths and illness of the lungs from inhalation of the dust particles of the product. More than 70,000 homes statewide in Michigan (including Detroit) have the product in their attics. Many former employees of the company are at risk of lung ailments without their knowledge of the product's hazard. The series discovered that the EPA was trying to internally assess exactly what to tell the public who may come in contact with the product about how to handle Zonolite. It also included information about how to check the attic of a home to see if there is Zonolite, as well as precautions to be taken.
  • "Clean Rooms"

    This investigative report looks at several medical abnormalities affecting "chip-makers" and "drive-makers" working in IBM "clean rooms." In IBM labs across the country, workers were unknowingly being exposed to carcinogens such as KTI 820, Methylene Chloride, and glycol ethers. As a result many workers later discovered that they had a range of different types of cancer- breast cancer, brain cancer, and testicular cancer. In one case of one 10-person work group, eight people were diagnosed with cancer- six died. The workers were unaware that the chemicals they were using were known to cause different types of cancer and even birth defects. One woman was specifically told that she could work in the "clean room" while pregnant. Her child was born with rare disease called Retinoblastoma, which is a rare eye cancer found in only 1 of 15,000 children. IBM refused to comment on the situation, and responded to one worker's complaint, "regrettably, cancer is one of the most common causes of death in American adults."