Yellowstone spill contaminates drinking water with carcinogen benzene

By Jim Morris

Authorities found the chemical, a component of crude oil, in drinking water downstream of an oil spill in Montana's Yellowstone River.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… that has killed countless workers and contaminated communities around the United States, is back in the news. Authorities found the chemical at elevated levels i …"

Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… weaker, or less health-protective, than the old one. The decision by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was a boon for oil refineries, petrochemical plants and other benze …"

New battlefront for petrochemical industry: benzene and childhood leukemia

By Kristen Lombardi

Jarrett McElheney grew up near a cluster of petroleum storage tanks. His parents believe benzene in drinking water gave him cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Shanghai":

"… nancial support for an unparalleled study of workers exposed to benzene in Shanghai, China, delivering what amounted to a sales pitch for the project. They to …"

A dozen dirty documents

By Kristen Lombardi and Jared Bennett

Twelve documents that stand out from the Center's new archive

Excerpts from this story referencing "Benzene":

"… 0 summary of the API’s research strategy, drafted by the group’s  Benzene Task Force, explains that the research program “is designed to protect m …"

"… rs of “personal injury claims,” an email exchange among members of the Benzene Health Research Consortium urges deletion of  “the reference to leg …"

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Institute":

"… kplaces, it said — or 0.5 ppm for an eight-hour shift. By contrast, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Diseas …"

Five-state study finds high levels of airborne chemicals near oil and gas sites

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

A study of air emissions near oil and gas wells found strikingly high levels of benzene and other dangerous chemicals in some locations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Energy":

"… ent Petroleum Association of America referred questions about the study to Energy In Depth, an outreach campaign it launched in 2009. Energy In Depth spokes …"

"… ut the study to Energy In Depth, an outreach campaign it launched in 2009. Energy In Depth spokeswoman Katie Brown criticized the involvement of G …"

"… was wrong, based on bad odors, symptoms such as nausea or other problems. Energy In Depth, which has criticized other studies looking at potential health e …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kentucky":

"… y hard in a triangular region encompassing southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southwestern Virginia. In these areas, thick deposits of coal largely …"

Contractor, Hispanic worker deaths up in 2013, BLS says

By Talia Buford

The number of contractors and Hispanic workers who died on the job increased in 2013 even as the overall tally of worker deaths declined.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Employment":

"… umber remains high,” said Rebecca Smith, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy and research group. “In part, that’s a …"

National Academy of Sciences agrees with EPA that formaldehyde causes cancer

By David Heath

To the chemical industry's chagrin, a National Academy of Sciences review found that formaldehyde causes cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… y Council, has persuaded members of Congress that the findings of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services were wrong and should be r …"

U.S. announces sweeping reforms to protect coal miners from black lung disease

By Chris Hamby

Surrounded by coal miners, U.S. Labor officials announce reforms including a new rule limiting the disease-causing dust allowed in mines.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mine Safety and Health Administration":

"… cal day for coal miners in this country,” said Joe Main, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, as he looked out at a packed atrium — with at least four dozen miners a …"

GAO report again finds black lung proposal supported by science

By Chris Hamby

A new government study supports reducing the dust limit workers encounter in mines; the industry is pushing back against stronger rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Mining Association":

"… t level in 1995, but attempts to implement this change have faltered. The National Mining Association, a trade group, and many of the nation’s biggest coal companies have att …"

"… s week’s report. Rogers, who is up for re-election this year, counts the National Mining Association and other energy companies or trade groups among the donors to his campaig …"

Air monitoring in fracking areas fails to detect spikes in toxic emissions, new study says

By Lisa Song and Jim Morris

A new study finds that common air monitoring methods are all but useless in capturing intense, short-term emissions from gas development.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Philadelphia":

"… 90 experts from industry, government and the medical community gathered in Philadelphia to discuss major data gaps. The conclusions they reached were almost ident …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia-Pacific":

"… dustry denial Facing 60,000 asbestos claims over a product it once sold, Georgia-Pacific responded with a legal pushback — and secretive science. Keep reading …"

OSHA rule targets worker exposure to silica

By Jim Morris

Citing concerns over the deadly lung disease silicosis and lung cancer, OSHA on Friday proposed a rule to control worker exposure to silica.

California cities seek $1 billion settlement for lead paint-related health care costs

By Lilly Fowler

Lawsuit says lead paint manufacturers should pay to remove old, toxic pigment from affected homes in California.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemicals":

"… e underwent chelation therapy, a medical procedure that involves injecting chemicals that bind with lead, helping patients excrete the metal. In 1987, Santiag …"

IMPACT: OSHA strengthens rules for 'model workplace' program

By Chris Hamby

IMPACT: Companies exempted from some safety inspections under an OSHA program will face automatic removal after work-related deaths.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… ered by the new policy. A fire at ExxonMobil’s oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas, in April injured 12 contract workers, with two later succumbing to burns. …"

Clean Air case yields rare criminal convictions in New York

By Sam Pearson

A NY coke plant and its environmental manager, convicted of felony Clean Air violations, await sentencing — as residents push for relief.

Cancer-cluster study seeking to debunk 'Erin Brockovich' has glaring weaknesses

By David Heath

An often-cited study finds no cancer cluster in Hinkley, Calif. But it fails to focus on people who drank poisoned water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California Environmental Protection Agency":

"… nkley.” Morgan doesn’t hide his disapproval of a recent ruling by the California Environmental Protection Agency that drinking hexavalent chromium, the rust inhibitor that PG&E dumped …"

EPA adds safeguards to spotlight conflicts on scientific panels

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new steps Friday to help reveal potential conflicts of interest in scientific review panels.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Erin Brockovich":

"… lent chromium, best known as the toxic chemical compound from the hit film Erin Brockovich, is found in the drinking water of more than 70 million Americans, accordi …"

OSHA strengthens protections for temp workers

By Jim Morris

Amid reports of high injury rates for temporary workers, OSHA announces new measures aimed at training and safety.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… example, researchers who studied nearly 4,000 amputations among workers in Illinois found that five of the 10 employers with the highest number of incidents w …"

Workplace deaths up slightly in 2011

By Jim Morris

Worker deaths rose slightly in 2011, though the jobsite fatality rate fell, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… o make a living.”     …"

"… and 419 from “exposure to harmful substances or environments.” “The Texas plant explosion is the kind of catastrophe that really grabs the public’ …"

"… e injured. On April 17, the same day the fertilizer plant blew up in West, Texas, a dozen contract workers  were injured when a fire broke out at the …"

"… n 2011, the bureau found, accounting for 12 percent of all fatal injuries. Texas had the highest number of contractor deaths – 56 – followed by Florida …"

Why strong regulatory agencies matter

By Bill Buzenberg

If the Center is doing its job right, then our work should anticipate the news. Unfortunately, that happened with an explosion in Texas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… enter posted an important story early that morning about the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s failure to complete its investigations into chemical accidents i …"

"… dustrial accidents described in our piece — accidents requiring Chemical Safety Board investigations that have dragged on, in some cases for years. Sluggi …"

"… xplosion that are deemed to be of “high consequence.” Yet the Chemical Safety Board — modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board — is ab …"

"… et the Chemical Safety Board — modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board — is able to investigate only a handful, and then often takes year …"

New federal scrutiny in wake of Center and NPR grain bin 'drownings' report

By Howard Berkes

The Justice Department might again consider criminal charges in case reported by Center and NPR.

Bill aims to strengthen OSHA workplace enforcement

By Chris Hamby

Senators propose tighter workplace safety rules, targeting breakdowns highlighted in Center for Public Integrity reports.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Association of Manufacturers":

"… ears amid opposition from industry groups. The Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers did not respond to interview requests Thursday. The bill would give the O …"

Praise from MIT for Center and PBS collaboration on post-Erin Brockovich Hinkley, Calif.

Knight Science Journalism at MIT commends Center and PBS for reporting on toxic cleanup in California

Excerpts from this story referencing "Erin Brockovich":

"… on lawsuit. The suit was made famous in the Hollywood movie Erin Brockovich.  Regulators have been slow to act on the problem of chromium (VI) i …"

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

Excerpts from this story referencing "Erin Brockovich":

"… (VI), you may recall, is the same chemical compound featured in the movie Erin Brockovich. That Oscar-winning film did much to raise awareness of chromium pollution …"

How industry scientists stalled action on carcinogen

By David Heath

Tens of millions of Americans drink tap water tainted with chromium. But industry pushback has made it hard for the EPA to regulate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lockheed Martin Corp.":

"… ce for Responsible Water Policy was bankrolled by General Electric Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., two companies entangled in chromium cleanups. A strategic action pl …"

Toxic clout: how Washington works (badly)

By Bill Buzenberg

How Washington works (badly)

Excerpts from this story referencing "The Center":

"… the public health.   In a new series of stories called Toxic Clout, The Center for Public Integrity is exploring how the chemical industry operates behin …"

"… Wednesday, March 6th, to see a special report produced in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity. This report features a chemical compound that more …"

House bill targets deadly dust explosions

By Chris Hamby

House Democrats are pushing a bill requiring safety steps to curb combustible dust explosions -- a hazard examined in a 2012 Center report.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… ials as varied as sugar, coal, wood and plastic. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration began the process of issuing a rule to address t …"

EPA unaware of industry ties on cancer review panel

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

An EPA panel appointed to study hexavalent chromium included scientists who had consulted for industry in lawsuits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Government Accountability Office":

"… essment of dioxin, a byproduct of plastics manufacturing and burning. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in 2008 that the IRIS program was so bogged down that it w …"

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