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 "hazards" ...

  • Families complain of mold, lead paint, rats in military housing ahead of hearing

    In February, CBS News gained access to privatized housing at Ft. Meade, becoming the first national television network to go on to a military base to investigate issues within the U.S. military’s privatized housing program. Through our coverage, CBS News exposed problems with mold, insects and structural integrity covered up or ignored by private housing companies. This story led to a swift response from then-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, who granted an exclusive on-camera interview with CBS News to outline how his department planned to respond.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • Houston Chronicle: Silent Spills

    A joint investigation by the two news organizations (Houston Chronicle and AP)found that industrial spills unleashed by Hurricane Harvey in Houston were far worse than publicly reported. Impacted citizens were kept in the dark about their size and seriousness. State and federal officials misled the public with repeated assurances that no health hazards existed. Six months after Harvey, Texas regulators had not announced a single enforcement action from 89 incidents investigated. Reporters from the Chronicle and AP filed dozens of records requests, unearthing long-hidden government-funded research and cross-referencing spill data collected from a hodgepodge of state and local agencies to determine the true scope of the damage. The vital watchdog role they performed highlighted a lack of will by Texas state regulators to effectively police the petrochemical industry. But its industry-friendly approach had weakened local efforts to build cases against the worst polluters, many of them repeat environmental offenders.
  • Toxic City: Sick Schools

    Children in Philadelphia public schools endure environmental hazards -- deteriorated asbestos, damaged lead paint, festering mold and rodent droppings -- that deprive them of a healthy place to learn and thrive. In reaching our major findings, we conducted 175 scientific tests at 19 elementary schools at a cost of nearly $9,000, built a custom database to analyze more than 250,000 room-by-room environmental records, and interviewed more than 120 teachers, parents, students and experts.
  • Frankenstein Guardrails

    The FOX31 Denver’s investigative unit discovered Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews assembling guardrail systems with mix-and-match parts from competing manufacturers. By “Frankensteining” already questionable end-cap terminals, with incompatible rails, the state had been creating serious road safety hazards for years. Within a week of the revelation, the Federal Highway Administration ordered a nationwide warning and Colorado began inspecting every guardrail system in the state (42,000 end-cap terminals/21,000 guardrail systems), repairing hundreds of dangerous installation errors.
  • Drug Problems: Dangerous Decision-Making at the FDA

    The public depends on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that medicines are safe and effective, but through many months and almost 30,000 words of reporting, POGO’s ongoing “Drug Problems” investigation has revealed dangerously lax FDA oversight of prescription drugs. We found that the FDA has set low standards, approved drugs based on flawed clinical trials, taken a toothless approach toward doctors who violate standards of clinical research, allowed misleading marketing, provided inadequate warnings about drug hazards, slighted reports of drug-related deaths and injuries, withheld important information from the public, and made other dubious judgments that advanced the interests of pharmaceutical companies while putting patients at potentially deadly risk. Among other developments detailed in our package: After we exposed a potentially crippling flaw in the testing of a blockbuster drug, the FDA and its European counterpart said they were reexamining the clinical trial upon which they had based the drug’s approval.
  • We Sell Houses (and Sometimes Ruin Lives)

    Scott Wizig is a Houston-based real estate king with an appalling track record in Houston, Buffalo, and Baltimore. Houston Press first reported on Wizig in 2004, after he was run out of Buffalo. They decided to follow up on him in 2014 after a group of community non-profits in Baltimore sued him for sitting on dozens of vacant, blighted homes that were deemed health and safety hazards. The Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending appears to be the only Texas entity keeping an eye on Wizig, but even though he's repeatedly violated disclosure laws, the penalties are a pittance. Wizig also has exploited flaws in county record-keeping and eviction courts that have allowed him to foreclose on property he doesn't really own.
  • Shadow Campus

    The series found that Boston colleges have added thousands of students without enough housing to accommodate them all, pushing students into dangerously overcrowded apartments in surrounding neighborhoods and putting students' lives at risk. A Globe team discovered that overcrowded apartments were rampant in student neighborhoods, including many that were firetraps or riddled with pests, broken locks and other hazards. Local colleges reneged on promises to building more housing and steered students to one of the city's most notorious landlords. Local housing regulators seemed powerless or unwilling to tackle the issue. And families were gradually replaced by absentee landlords, changing the character of key parts of the city.
  • Greek Tragedies

    The University of Illinois has the largest number of Greek chapters in the country, with 4,000 students living in Greek houses. City safety inspectors find hundreds of fire hazards and safety violations in fraternities and sororities at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign each year, yet it can take months before some violations are corrected, inspection documents show. Almost all of the 60 fraternities and sororities inspected in 2012 had violations, many of which included disconnected smoke detectors, overloaded extension cords, broken sprinklers and faulty emergency lights, according to 2012 inspection records. Other violations were for unapproved cooking equipment such as hotplates, pizza ovens and self-heating skillets.
  • Undisclosed Hazards

    While methamphetamine production has been on the rise in New York and Pennsylvania, there are no federal or state rules about what makes a former meth lab clean, and no law requiring landlords or property sellers to disclose to renters or buyers that a property was once a meth lab. Employees at state or local government agencies contacted for the report thought other state or local agencies are responsible for overseeing or mandating cleanup, but the task is mostly left to local code enforcement departments, who have no guidance from their states.