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 "contaminants" ...

  • Tainted Water

    Canadians have every reason to believe that the water that runs from their taps is beyond reproach: abundant, clean and safe. But the “Tainted Water” investigation, an unprecedented national collaboration of universities and news organizations, exposed the risks faced by millions of Canadians whose drinking water contains elevated levels of lead, a powerful, insidious neurotoxin, and other contaminants. Coordinated by the staff at the Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIJ), “Tainted Water” is the largest project of its kind in Canadian history, and possibly the largest student-led project worldwide. The consortium brought together more than 120 journalists, student journalists and faculty members from nine post-secondary institutions and six news organizations and their bureaus over a period of 18 months to report the series. Journalism students and reporters combined their findings and produced local, regional and national investigative features, released as a series of print, digital and TV stories, making international headlines.
  • The Trouble with Chicken

    FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our meat -- particularly poultry -- and why the food-safety system isn't stopping the threat. Focusing on an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg at one of the nation's largest poultry processors, the documentary reveals how contaminants are evading regulators and causing more severe illnesses at a time when Americans are consuming more chicken than ever. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/trouble-with-chicken/transcript/
  • Missteps and Secrets: Los Alamos Officials Downplayed Waste's Dangers

    A leak from a drum of Cold War-era nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2014, released radioactive contaminants that reached almost two dozen and the environment outside the ancient salt cavern turned nuclear waste dump. Documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican exposed truths deliberately hidden from regulators and waste dump personnel by Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the waste originated, and the private contractors that operate the lab.
  • Dirty Ice

    The NBC CT Troubleshooters were given some gross pictures of commercial ice machines by a source in the industry. We were told black slime, mold and other kinds of contaminants cover the machines that dispense your ice at fast food restaurants and other eateries. Our insider says it’s caused from a lack of proper maintenance on the machines. We used our hidden camera and took a closer look at food handling practices in Connecticut and what we found was disturbing. Often times, food service employees DO NOT treat ice as food. The story has created a buzz in the food industry and with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF certifies ice machines for use in restaurants). In its most recent meeting the NSF discussed looking at ice machines that apparently violate NSF regulations and the FDA Food Code by sucking air and microorganisms from the floor drain (and other places) into the ice bin. This air flow defect was newly discovered and is probably the source of much of the contamination in ice machines we found in our investigation.
  • Injection Wells - The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

    Over the last several decades, U.S. industries have dumped more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic waste – a volume roughly four times that of Utah’s Great Salt Lake -- into injection wells deep beneath the earth’s surface. These wells epitomize the notion of out of sight, out of mind, entombing chemicals too dangerous to discard in rivers or soil. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for overseeing this invisible disposal system, setting standards that, above all, are supposed to safeguard sources of drinking water at a time when water has become increasingly precious. Abrahm Lustgarten’s series, “Injection Wells: the Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground,” lays out in frightening detail just how far short regulators have fallen in carrying out that mission. His analysis of hundreds of thousands of inspection records showed that wells often fail mechanical integrity tests meant to ensure contaminants aren’t leaking into water supplies and that companies repeatedly violate basic rules for safe disposal. EPA efforts to strengthen regulation of underground injection have been stymied time and again by the oil and gas industry, among the primary users of disposal wells. As the number of wells for drilling waste has grown to more than 150,000 nationwide, regulators haven’t kept pace, leaving gaps that have led to catastrophic breakdowns. And Lustgarten’s most surprising finding was that the EPA has knowingly permitted the energy industry to pollute underground reservoirs, handing out more than 1,500 “exemptions” allowing companies to inject waste and other chemicals into drinking water aquifers.
  • The Body Toxic

    Baker writes about the "dizzying array of chemical contaminants, the by-products of modern industry and innovation that contribute to a host of developmental deficits and health problems that are just now being understood."
  • A Body's Burden

    The authors tested a typical family's blood, hair, and urine for the presence of several everyday chemical contaminants known collectively as our "body's burden." The investigation revealed the presence of flame retardants, plastics, metals, PCBs, even the chemical precursors for Teflon and Gore-Tex in each family member, with concentrations in the children often far outpacing those in their parents.
  • What's in your backyard?

    The news team learned that several people complained the EPA never told them about toxic chemical waste contamination in their residential area. The waste was dumped near their homes or contaminated their water. Some residents eventually found out as they started to fall sick, but the EPA had known about the exposure for decades. The news team obtained the EPA database, mapped out where contaminants were concentrated and spotted the affected people. The source of contamination is traced to two steel companies. As a result, legislation is on the way, and authorities are testing soil and water.
  • Toxic Chemicals Taint Barton Waters

    Samples from a smattering of Austin city waterways showed high levels of toxins, some higher than levels f the same chemicals in Superfund sites. The levels of contaminants pose some serious health concerns for the city, which has the waterways under its jurisdiction.
  • Home Deadly Home: Toxins in air

    Industrial chemicals streaming under the neighborhoods are supposed to be safe as long as people didn't drink it. Now thousands fo Americans are discovering that the contaminants became a gas and could be in their living room. Regulators have done little to nothing despite two decades of warnings from the scientific community. The problem is so pervasive that the EPA doesn't have a count on how many neighborhoods were checked for the problem.