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 "vapor" ...

  • The Human Toll of Hanford's Dirty Secrets

    "The Human Toll of Hanford’s Dirty Secrets" exposed that in 2016 an unprecedented number of Hanford nuclear workers became ill after breathing toxic chemical vapors emanating from nuclear waste, while the federal government sat back and did little to remedy the crisis. We showed that instead of taking action to protect its workers, officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, Hanford’s operator, waged a cover up campaign, denied any problem existed, and even punished workers who insisted on better health protections.
  • The Human Toll of Hanford's Dirty Secrets

    “The Human Toll of Hanford’s Dirty Secrets” exposed a decades-long effort to hide the health threat posed to workers at the Hanford Nuclear Site in southeastern Washington. Since March dozens of workers (56 at the time of this writing) have become sick on the job after inhaling toxic chemical vapors emitted from underground nuclear storage tanks. These workers are just the most recent to be harmed by exposure to the vapors, which have been allowed to vent into the atmosphere dating back to the facility’s establishment in the 1940s.
  • Botswana: Diamond Hopes, Diamond Blues

    After diamonds were discovered 50 years ago, Botswana transformed itself from one the poorest countries in the world to an “African Miracle,” complete with one of the highest GDPs on the continent and stable democratic governance. This allusion of harmonious prosperity, however, is threatened by drastic changes to its geography. Rapid development has led to rapid desertification, marked by eroded land, dried rivers, deep boreholes, and the expanding Kalahari. Semi-arid and landlocked, Botswana is no stranger to droughts and low rainfall. Soon, it will be one of the first countries to experience the evaporation of its already limited groundwater supply, according to the World Economic Forum. What exhausts the water supply and threatens Botswana’s fragile ecosystems are exactly its most vital economic sectors. Livestock production, communal and commercial, expands further and further into the Kalahari Sandveld, uncontrolled and often encouraged by the government. As a result, boreholes are drilled 200 meters deep across the desert landscape of overgrazed vegetation. Meanwhile, Botswana’s diamond mines, accounting for more than a third of the national GDP, extract great amounts of water at no cost. Unrestricted, the mines continue to drain the aquifers and, in the process, limit the access rights of small farmers and minority tribes.
  • C-HIT: Toxic Laundry Emissions

    Industrial laundries in New England have recently come under intense scrutiny by the EPA, ever since the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) found that volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) were being released at a facility in Waterbury, CT. According to Steve Rapp, Chief of the Air Technical Unit, EPA Region 1, the problem is widespread and significant. “The industrial laundries are grossly under-reporting their VOCs,” said Rapp. “It’s a total sleeper.” The problem stems from the process of laundering shop towels, which are often contaminated with toxic solvents. When improperly cleaned, the solvents are vaporized and emitted to the surrounding air. This article investigated this little-known source of air pollution, shedding light on the industry’s practices and its impact on air quality and public health.
  • A Sudden Explosion

    Millions of red, consumer gas cans are sold each year and stored in homes across America. Most people know that gas can be dangerous, but they don't think of the cans as ticking time bombs. The report looks at several gas can explosion and the children who were severely burned.
  • Home Deadly Home: Toxins in Air

    The Environmental Protection Agency and many states ignored or downplayed the health threat posed by toxic chemicals that vaporize from groundwater and enter homes. The formula the EPA used to assess the ganger is demonstrably inaccurate. Colorado, having failed to address such problems in the past, now is one of the few states that ignores the inadequate EPA guidelines and tests individual homes."
  • Rocky Flats: From Cold War to Hot Property

    Westword examines what has happened to Rocky Flats after the Atomic Energy Commission built a nuclear-weapons plant near the Denver area in the 1950s. The disposal of more than 1,500 kinds of chemicals and radioactive plutonium. Dow Chemical undertook only the slightest precautions in getting rid of the waste. It attempted solar evaporation ponds and mixing the toxic, often radioactive sludge with cement that never hardened. Over the years, materials left unprotected outside in second-hand barrels and other careless containers seeped into the prairies and groundwater. In 1974, Rockwell International took over and continued the pollution. In 1989, the plant was raided by the FBI and Colorado's first ever grand jury convened. Indictments and a $18.5 million fine were levied at Rockwell, the contractor and DOE employees. Today, an ambitious goal of cleaning up the land by 2006 is set but few have faith that the environmental damage sustained at Rocky Flats can be undone.
  • (Untitled)

    The Houston Press investigates the Exxon refinery in Baytown, where cutbacks in personnel and maintenance budget and the increased use of outside contractors has turned the plant into a catastrophe waiting to happen. Major disasters have been narrowly averted several times in the past two years after escaping vapors formed explosive clouds near open flames. (April 18, July 11, 1996)
  • "Waning Power: As S&L Crisis Grows, U.S. Savings League Loses Lobbying Clout"

    This report chronicles the waning power and influence of the Savings and Loan industry's lobbying arm. The U.S. League of Savings Institutions' credibility is evaporating just as it prepares an enormous lobbying campaign to control the damage threatened by the Bush Administration's new S&L rescue plan.
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    Texas Monthly uncovers Mexican drug lord Miguel Felix Gallardo, the godfather who may have ordered the torture and murder of U.S. drug enforcement agent Enrique Camarena Salazar; Gallardo lives a life of sophistication, seemingly evaporating whenever U.S. investigators draw near; investigates his influence over Mexican government officials, July 1987.