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 "hazardous materials" ...

  • Where There's Smoke

    "Where There's Smoke" investigates the military's practice of using open burn pits to dispose of the millions of tons of waste, including hazardous materials, generated by base operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • How federal agencies and their officials, responsible for public welfare and safety, willfully and repeatedly fail to protect the health of armed service members, nuclear workers, and ultimately the public interest

    Military and nuclear workers risk their lives everyday working on major health projects aimed at benefitting the public. What this investigation uncovers is the fact that, after these workers become seriously injured from their exposure to hazardous materials, they are often left without government healthcare.
  • Dangerous Sealant

    Based on a tip from a viewer, KCNC investigated the toxicity of a bathroom tile sealant called Tile Perfect Stand 'N Seal. They found numerous complaints from across the country about the sealant making people ill. The safety labels on the cans did not match the sealant producer's internal documents about product safety. The producer, called Roanoke Companies, announced a recall of 300,000 cans of sealant on the day the story aired.
  • Something is Killing our Police

    Utah police in the 1980's and 1990's were trained to bust meth labs and handle chemicals without using any safety equipment. Now, the officers who were exposed to the hazardous materials are suffering severe illness and even dying much earlier than they should be.
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

    During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed the world's largest biological weapons program. Today, the Russian funding for the program has been cut, but the altered diseases and the scientists with the deadly expertise still remain in Russia and the Soviet empire's former republics. Twelve years ago, the United States began paying millions of dollars to employ Russian ex-scientists to protect the hazardous materials. This investigation shows that the United States funded program is not entirely successful; many labs remain in dangerous states of neglect and Russia still refuses to admit entry to its military controlled biological labs.
  • Fly the Fiery Skies

    After the Valujet crash, the Clinton administration, the FAA, and the chiefs of the country's largest airlines promised that the installation of fire detectors in many aircraft was a top priority for the industry. Six months later, not one new extinguisher or detector was installed. The problem this poses is particular to smaller planes more than larger but the danger is real. The Halon fire fighting agent present in most planes cannot work correctly in the cargo holds of smaller planes. If there are no detectors or extinguishers, then a fire caused by standard hair products could quickly consume a plane with no warning to the crew until it is too late.
  • Potential for Disaster

    From the contest entry summary: "The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reasoned that chemical plants would be a major terrorist target in the wake of Sept. 11 attacks. If ruptured, tanks storing catastrophic levels of chemicals could kill, injure or displace millions of Americans living in or around our largest cities. Similar events have transpired in the Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian wars in the 1990s, and domestic and foreign terrorists have claimed credit for attacking chemical tanks in the U.S. and Middle East."
  • Derailed Lives

    "A train derailment and fatal chemical spill on Jan. 18, 2002, in Minot, N.D., exposed the vulnerability of our nation's transportation of common but hazardous agricultural chemical," the Forum reports. The story depict the disaster -- known as the largest spill of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer -- in the world but also investigates its causes. The main findings are that pre-1989 railroad tanker cars are susceptible to puncturing in accidents in cold weather; tracks often contain a number of defects; and rescue workers and hospitals are ill-prepared for disasters.
  • 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.
  • Pipelines: The invisible danger

    In a four-part investigative series American-Statesmen examines "the operation and regulation of some of the most profitable companies in America, those that operate pipelines carrying oil, gasoline, fuel oil, natural gas and other hazardous materials." The reporting team reveals the dangerous - and at times deadly - condition of the pipelines the American industry uses to transport crude oil and natural gas. The stories point to statistics showing that from 1984 through 2000 a total of 366 people have died in the USA as a result of pipeline leaks and explosions. Inspections have showed that one inactive pipeline, which passes through the populated area of Austin, has had "4,000 anomalies" caused by weak steel skin. Texas is notorious for the highest death toll, since it is the state with the most miles of pipelines. The follow-up editorials focus on the need for reforms, and suggest new federal and state regulation that would improve pipeline safety.