The Center for Public Integrity's "Toxic Clout" series on the chemical industry's questionable influence over science has won an award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.
The series won the Kevin Carmody Award for outstanding in-depth reporting from a small-market outlet.
"This year-long investigation convincingly revealed how chemical industry influence and regulatory malaise create uncertainty and delay, putting public health at risk," the judges said.
The series included a story on a prominent public-health scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who quietly made millions of dollars working for chemical companies without disclosing conflicts. Another story uncovered how scientists with financial conflicts on an EPA peer-review panel delayed a scientific assessment of hexavalent chromium. The story prompted the the agency to reform its peer-review process.
The series also revealed how the American Chemistry Council, the industry's largest lobbying group, routinely seeks to relax regulations in states. And it showed how Georgia Pacific hired scientists to publish articles that would help the company in litigation, a scheme that a New York appeals court concluded “could have been in furtherance of a fraud.”
The writers were David Heath, Ronnie Greene and Jim Morris.
The Society of Environmental Journalists received 313 entries for seven categories of awards.
Other winners included the Seattle Times for a series on the acidification of the oceans, the Miami Herald and Chemical & Engineering News for beat reporting, Environmental Health Perspectives for feature reporting, National Geographic for photography, and Dan Fagin for his book on a cancer cluster in Toms River, N.J.