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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "toxic" ...

  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful

    Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor, he lived and breathed the Marine Corps and was responsible for training thousands of new recruits. When Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed. As a grief-stricken father, he struggled for years to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of one of the largest water contamination sites in US history. For thirty years, unbeknownst to the Marines living there, the Marine Corps improperly disposed of toxic cleaning solvents that contaminated the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. It is estimated that nearly one million Marines and their families may have been exposed to high levels of carcinogens through the water. 25 years after the wells were finally closed, only a fraction of former residents know about their exposure to the toxic chemicals. In the process of investigating the Camp Lejeune contamination, a larger issue comes into focus - the abysmal environmental record of the military. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense is the United States’ largest polluter, which raises grave questions about environmental conditions at other bases across the country. “Semper Fi: Always Faithful” is a timely and sobering story of the betrayal of US soldiers and is a call to action for more environmental oversight of military sites.
  • Loophole Lets Toxic Oil Water Flow Over Indian Land

    NPR obtained internal documents from the Environmental Protection Agency that show that the agency has long been allowing oil companies to release polluted water on an Indian reservation in Wyoming. Millions of gallons of waste are released every month, creating streams of waste which ends up in natural rivers. The federal government banned this kind of dumping in the 1970s, but they made an exception, a loophole for the arid West. States in the West, however, eventually set up their own regulations to prevent this kind of polluting. Indian reservations are regulated only by the EPA, so the practice still happens in places like the Wind River reservation in Wyoming.
  • Data analysis of drilling regulation and enforcement

    When officials from Texas to the White House made claims about regulating the country's oil and gas boom, EnergyWire decided to check them out. The online publication used public record requests and data analysis to show that industry uses toxic chemicals more often than it lets on, that the database disclosing those chemicals is riddled with holes and officials often don't use their strongest penalties on health and environmental violators.
  • 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.
  • What Killed Arafat?

    This 50-minute film was the result of a nine month long cold case investigation into the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat, Palestine's iconic, revolutionary leader. After obtaining Arafat's entire original medical files, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, led by producer and reporter Clayton Swisher, crossed continents to track down and interview the French, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian doctors who had worked to save Arafat's life. Part I of "What Killed Arafat?" was able to easily shatter popular myths about what caused Arafat's precipitous decline from the onset of his illness on October 12, 2004 until his death on November 11th. Testimony from Arafat's doctors conclusively ruled out liver cirrhosis, cancer, even rumors of HIV. The scientific, evidence-based discoveries made in the Part II result from the work performed by a team of forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and radiation physicists from the University Center for Legal Medicine and Institute for Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland. Working without payment, they agreed to run a battery of sophisticated tests on a large gym bag containing Arafat’s last personal effects. The scientists discovered significant levels of reactor-made Polonium 210 contaminating areas of Arafat's personal effects that came into contact with his biological fluids. When the final results came back in late June, Al Jazeera hosted Mrs. Arafat in Doha to watch the Swiss explain the results on set. Upon witnessing their testimony, Ms. Arafat made a resolute, unanticipated surprise announcement, calling on the Palestinian Authority to exhume her husband's body for testing. Yasser Arafat’s body was exhumed on November 27, 2012 so that the final samples could be retrieved. Whether the causes of Arafat's death are determined to be natural, inconclusive—or even murder—suffice it to say that Al Jazeera’s "What Killed Arafat?" and the resulting investigations and exhumation will have inched the world closer to understanding what did not, and possibly for the first time, what did claim the life of this historic and controversial personality.
  • The Great Mortgage Cover-Up

    These stories reveal one of the hidden causes of the financial crisis- how corporate codes of silence helped lenders to flood the nation with toxic mortgages. They document evidence that major banks and lenders systematically muzzled whistle blowers who tried to fight against forged documents, falsified appraisals, and other frauds in the mortgage industry.
  • Toxic Landscape: A Neighborhood In Peril

    The Record's three-part series "Toxic Landscape: A Neighborhood In Peril" chronicles 30 years of poor decisions, lax enforcement, and bureaucratic indifference by the New Jersey Department of Enviromental Protection that lead to an entire Garfield, N.J. neighborhood becoming a Superfund site last year.
  • Pacific Steel Recycling Pollution

    KGTV 10News revealed toxic waste piles behind the gates of a San Diego County recycling yard- Pacific Steel Inc.
  • Poisoned Places: Tonawanda

    It's difficult to definitively link any one person's illness to air pollution from a particular plant. But the concerns about the health effects of Tonawanda Coke's toxic pollution rallied a small group of people in Tonawanda -- most of them sick -- to force complacent regulators to clean up the air. The case highlights the risks posed to communities around the country by an environmental regulatory system that largely entrusts companies to voluntarily disclose how much toxic pollution they emit and that can take years to act once violations are discovered.
  • Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

    This partnered investigation looks into the Clean Air Act and what it has been failing to do: protecting communities from toxic air pollutants for 21 years.