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.

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 "California":

"… t years strengthening employer liability for temporary workers. In August, California’s legislature passed AB 1897, which would require host companies as …"

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 "Environment":

"… 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 w …"

"… pportunity to advance the science.” Richard Denison, a scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, countered: “One can only hope that this sorry episode an …"

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 "Safety":

"… ay 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 …"

"… t has a long and tortured history. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the government research agency known as NIOSH, reviewed 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.

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 "Environment":

"… tion, researchers reported Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Reviews on Environmental Health. The study was conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmen …"

"… nvironmental Health. The study was conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a nonprofit based near Pittsburgh. A health survey the …"

"… r David Brown, who conducted the study with three of his colleagues at the Environmental Health Project. Stuart Batterman, an Environmental health sciences prof …"

"… nclusions they reached were almost identical to those in a recent study in Environmental Science & Technology that cited a lack of "comprehensive" public hea …"

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 "Obama":

"… tion, health fears. Keep reading Climate plan, coal pushback President Obama's climate plan, vital to his green agenda, is drawing close scrutiny — a …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… ble to live to see his grandchildren?” Monforton asked. …"

"… er of air, a number recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 1974. The current limit varies, depending on the silica cont …"

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.

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 "Safety":

"… rticularly serious violations. The new policy, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes after a 2011 Center for Public Integrity …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Clean Air Act":

"… cases since 2012.     …"

"… felonies, respectively. Each was convicted of five counts of violating the Clean Air Act by emitting coke oven gas from an unpermitted emission source, along with …"

"… d the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. They were acquitted of four Clean Air Act counts. Kamholz, but not the company, was convicted of obstruction of just …"

"… ase proved to be nearly unique: A rare criminal prosecution of the federal Clean Air Act. Prosecutors say the complexity of Clean Air Act cases makes them difficu …"

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 "Lockheed Martin":

"… ter study in Redlands, Calif., at the request of scientists consulting for Lockheed Martin. The study was used in court to defend Lockheed Martin against allegations …"

"… ists consulting for Lockheed Martin. The study was used in court to defend Lockheed Martin against allegations that an old rocket plant had polluted the groundwater …"

"… didn’t know the scientists asking for the research were getting paid by Lockheed Martin. One of them, Michael Kelsh, worked at Exponent, a consulting company well …"

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.

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 "Safety":

"… ago-area factory in November 2011 and died three weeks later. Occupational Safety and Health Administration records obtained by the Center concluded that Ce …"

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 "Safety":

"… om O’Connor, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, an umbrella organization for a network of nonprofit groups aro …"

"… a report this week, O’Connor’s group recommends that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue a sweeping injury and illness prevention s …"

"… n Congress introduced legislation this year to strengthen the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, whose criminal and civil penalties for employer mi …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "official":

"… n storage bins and weak enforcement by federal agencies. Two federal officials familiar with the case say that the Justice Department is again consideri …"

"… in the case, despite multiple willful violations and what one former OSHA official called "the worst of the worst" cases. The officials now tell NPR that th …"

"… what one former OSHA official called "the worst of the worst" cases. The officials now tell NPR that the Justice Department asked the Labor Department to ag …"

"… 's response says the NPR/CPI series prompted an internal warning to agency officials. NPR/CPI reported that OSHA has routinely slashed fines and erased its mo …"

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 "Safety":

"… Labor. “This legislation is a long-overdue update to the [Occupational Safety and Health] Act, and a good step towards making workplaces safer and healt …"

"… pond to interview requests Thursday. The bill would give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration more powerful enforcement tools. Currently, an …"

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

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

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 "Connecticut":

"… from the start. Each week as a young toxicologist at a chemical company in Connecticut, he flew to the nation’s capital to lobby regulatory agencies such as th …"

Toxic clout: how Washington works (badly)

By Bill Buzenberg

How Washington works (badly)

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 "official":

"… eeting. Nothing in the EPA’s public record reveals the conflict. Two EPA officials who were there say they cannot recall what Patierno said. Patierno himsel …"

"… PG&E lawsuit but doesn’t know if that work disqualified him. An EPA official said privately said that Costa’s work as an expert witness may have kept …"

"… edge of the relevant facts to question the expert’s ability to carry out official duties without bias or influence.” The handbook offers, as an example o …"

"… wers on the chromium (VI) panel, did not return emails and phone calls. An official at another company handling peer reviews, Versar Inc., said he was prohibi …"

Report suggests OSHA safeguard contingent workers

By Chris Hamby

Regulators should launch an enforcement blitz of companies using large numbers of contingent workers, a nonprofit group concludes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… body. The company failed to call 911, according to a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration report obtained by the Center, and more than 98 …"

Labor secretary leaves legacy of worker protections and unfinished business

By Chris Hamby

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis leaves behind a department advocates say increased enforcement but left worker safety rules unfinished.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… ger enforcement of worker Safety laws. During her tenure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration ex …"

"… her tenure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration expanded initiatives to crack down on repeat vio …"

Even after workplace deaths, companies avoid OSHA penalties

By Chris Hamby

Following jobsite fatalities, OSHA vows crackdowns -- but sometimes collects nothing, a Center investigation found.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… s later. “We pulled him out, and that was it.”The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Crucible for more than 70 violations and l …"

'They were not thinking of him as a human being'

By Jim Morris and Chip Mitchell

A chemical discharge in a Chicago-area factory kills a worker — and exposes the dangers faced by temp workers across the U.S.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… ank, he also was charged with one count under a section of Title 18 of the United States Code, for making a false statement to, or otherwise conspiring to defraud, …"

Union demands protection for workers, after breast cancer linked to auto plastics industry

By Jennifer Quinn, Robert Cribb, Julian Sher and Jim Morris

A study linking higher rates of breast cancer for women in the auto plastics industry triggers anger among workers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Safety":

"… el, former director of health standards programs for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the vast majority of exposure limits enfor …"

IMPACT: Federal inspectors step up enforcement of rules to prevent black lung

By Chris Hamby

In a recent enforcement blitz, federal inspectors cited more than a dozen mines for problems that could expose workers to the disease.

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