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 "Texas":

"… nvestigating this topic, mostly in the Eagle Ford Shale formation of South Texas, for the past 18 months. A Yale University study released in September fo …"

"… tor of ShaleTest, an environmental data-collection nonprofit based in Texas. “And so we decided we would start doing some testing ourselves.” She …"

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 "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

"… to improve miners’ Health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mines with the e …"

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

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 "Labor":

"… ned, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In all, 4,405 workers died from injuries sustained on the job …"

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 Defense Fund":

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

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.

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 "United Mine Workers of America":

"… ’s given us any reason for that,” said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. At the heart of the rule are provisions cutting in half the amount of du …"

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.

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.

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… e not being able to live to see his grandchildren?” Monforton asked. …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… deaths or particularly serious violations. The new policy, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes after a 2011 Center for Public Integrity investigation found a sign …"

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 "federal government":

"… r, water and land, the Center found. Instead of criminal prosecution, the federal government is far more likely to pursue civil cases, which typically result in corpor …"

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 "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… ng on rodent studies, but as Morgan says, “We’re not big rats.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached the same conclusion internally as California’s EPA — that …"

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 "consultant":

"… even Patierno, then a scientist at George Washington University, who was a consultant on ACC studies. Another was Joshua Hamilton, a scientist at the Marine Bi …"

"… polluted the water in Hinkley, Calif., with chromium, hired Hamilton as a consultant in 2009. Hamilton said that just before the EPA peer-review panel met, PG …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… ned in a Chicago-area factory in November 2011 and died three weeks later. Occupational Safety and Health Administration records obtained by the Center concluded that Centeno’s bosses refused t …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… o workers. In a report this week, O’Connor’s group recommends that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue a sweeping injury and illness prevention standard that would require …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… s 28 years ago that the fertilizer plant in Waco was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA). There were “serious” violations reported at that time. T …"

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 "Patty Murray":

"… al danger, especially those who are untrained and ill-equipped," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chief sponsor of PAWA. "The evidence is clear that neither …"

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 "Patty Murray":

"… workplaces.   …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Chemistry Council":

"… PA’s delay was caused in part by waiting for new studies paid for by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade group and lobbyist. And, some of the …"

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 "Water":

"… focusing attention on the blue-ribbon panel. The Alliance for Responsible Water Policy was bankrolled by General Electric Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., t …"

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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… shed back, arguing for exemptions or calling the measure unnecessary. The American Chemistry Council has taken one of the strongest positions opposing the rule, saying in a st …"

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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… aths. The chemical industry’s trade association and chief lobbyist, the American Chemistry Council, urged the EPA to wait for more research, a common practice to delay actio …"

"… wait for the results of new studies costing $4 million and paid for by the American Chemistry Council. The EPA decided to wait at the urging of a panel of scientists chosen to …"

"… on the EPA panel. Another scientist who urged the EPA to wait for the American Chemistry Council studies served as a consultant on those studies. “You don’t have to b …"

"… a took office had been a primary author of research articles funded by the American Chemistry Council over the past dozen years. In all, 11 of the 68 members appointed to EPA …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… ercent of his 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 minutes passed between the …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… ringing stronger enforcement of worker safety laws. During her tenure, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration expanded initiatives to crac …"

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 "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… d a few months later. “We pulled him out, and that was it.”The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Crucible for more than 70 violations and levied almost $250,000 in f …"

'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.

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.

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