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 "contaminated" ...

  • Bombs In Your Backyard: Investigating One of America’s Greatest Polluters

    The military might of the United States has come at an extraordinary environmental price. The nation’s defense technologies and armaments have been developed, tested, stored, decommissioned and disposed of on vast tracts of American soil, where they have polluted fields and rivers, contaminated drinking water and put legions of people’s health at risk. For the first time, this project examined the full extent of the damage — 39,000 sites adding up to an area larger than the state of Florida, affecting millions of people. Our stories exposed the Pentagon’s routine practice of open burning of hazardous waste; its reliance on incompetent or fraudulent contractors that dump waste or fake cleanups; its four-decade campaign to make a dangerous and pervasive chemical explosive appear safe and avoid regulation; and its explicit refusal to comply with federal environmental laws even when the exposure of young children to lead poisoning from munition was at stake. We gained exclusive access to the Pentagon’s complete environmental dataset, and created a news application which for the first time mapped searchable data about contaminated sites across U.S. territories.
  • The Implant Files

    For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical-device approval system has allowed defective implants to spill onto the market, like contaminated water from a broken pipe. Many of those products have remained on hospital shelves, and in patient bodies, long after problems were known. On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Associated Press, the NBC News investigative unit and partners around the world published a yearlong investigation that shows regulators bowing to industry pressure to rush approvals, lower safety standards and cloak critical information, and the consequences: a string of grisly accidents that have left hundreds of thousands disfigured, disabled or dead.
  • Bombs In Your Backyard

    The military might of the United States has come at an extraordinary environmental price. The nation’s defense technologies and armaments have been developed, tested, stored, decommissioned and disposed of on vast tracts of American soil, where they have polluted fields and rivers, contaminated drinking water and put legions of people’s health at risk. For the first time, this project examined the full extent of the damage — 39,000 sites adding up to an area larger than the state of Florida, affecting millions of people. Our stories exposed the Pentagon’s routine practice of open burning of hazardous waste; its reliance on incompetent or fraudulent contractors that dump waste or fake cleanups; its four-decade campaign to make a dangerous and pervasive chemical explosive appear safe and avoid regulation; and its explicit refusal to comply with federal environmental laws even when the exposure of young children to lead poisoning from munition was at stake. We gained exclusive access to the Pentagon’s complete environmental dataset, and created a news application which for the first time mapped searchable data about contaminated sites across U.S. territories.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water

    This yearlong investigation – more than two dozen stories that culminated in an hourlong, primetime special -- exposed students drinking lead-contaminated water inside Nashville schools, parents being kept in the dark about the test results, as well as officials secretly plotting to bypass lead filters to save money and using testing methods that disguised the real contamination. Through persistence and dogged reporting, we exposed a scandal that would make national news in 2018. As a result, the head of facilities for the school district was forced to resign. District officials were also pressured by Nashville’s mayor and health department to reform their testing practices. In addition, our intense focus on the issue in 2018 would be credited with reviving legislation that’s designed to help keep children across Tennessee safe.
  • Contaminated Soil Lingers Where Apples Once Grew

    An Oregon Public Broadcasting and Northwest Public Radio collaboration found Washington officials failed to address known soil contamination at former orchard sites, leaving children at risk of exposure that could elevate their risk of lowered IQ, behavioral problems or cancer later in life.
  • Potter County, Pennsylvania: Private & Public Drinking Water Sources Contamination by Illegal Chemicals

    Public Herald broke the story about groundwater and surface water contamination from drilling operations by JKLM Energy in Potter County that impacted private and public water supplies. Since our first breaking report, we have been contacted by residents who informed us that they were not notified that the local groundwater had been contaminated, continued to use their water and experience stomach and digestive pain and discomfort. County officials applaud the industry for being "responsible" despite illegal operations and a refusal by the company to release a full list of chemicals that contaminated water sources.
  • Sonora River: Massive mine spill continues impact to Sonora River Basin

    One year after the Buenavista del Cobre copper mine spilled 11 million gallons of toxic chemicals into the Sonora River in Mexico, polluting nearly 200 miles of river and threatening the health and livelihood of its residents, the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting highlighted the consequences of an inadequate government response and illegal operations at the mine that led to the spill. Deep reporting illuminates farmers and families still sick from contact with the contaminated water, a government slow to take meaningful action to protect its residents and outdated water quality standards that allow 2.5 times more arsenic than acceptable international norms. https://soundcloud.com/bquester/azcir-sonora-river-radio-preview-with-kpbs
  • 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.
  • Dirty Little Secrets: New Jersey’s Poorest Live Surrounded by Contamination

    WNYC found 89 percent of New Jerseyans live within a mile of a contaminated site. Most of those sites are in the process of being cleaned up, which can take years. But our investigation found 1,464 of the state’s 14,066 known contaminated sites don’t have any clean-up plan in place. Many sites have sat orphaned and polluted for years, and they are disproportionately found in low-income communities. http://www.wnyc.org/story/nj-contaminated-sites/
  • Undrinkable

    Imagine if you turned on the tap and the water that poured out was undrinkable. That's the reality facing an estimated 100,000 Texans — many of them impoverished Latinos living along the Mexican border. The Texas Tribune exposed this public health crisis in a five-part series in March — a crucial reporting project that revealed the malfeasance, red tape, environmental woes, political infighting and cultural barriers that stood in the way of getting clean, safe water to the neediest parts of the state.