In Focus

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Doubts Raised About Chemical Stew in Fragrances Used in Consumer Products

For Joyce Miller, one sniff of scented laundry detergent can trigger an asthma attack. “What happens is I feel like someone is standing on my chest,” says the 57-year-old professor of library science in upstate New York. “It’s almost like a choking feeling – pressure and choking. And then the coughing starts,” she said. Miller […]

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Critics Fault New Highway Law for Concessions to Trucking Industry

*Note to reader: See update at the bottom of the story.* A $305 billion highway bill approved by Congress and signed by President Obama last week includes several provisions aggressively sought by the trucking industry that, critics say, will undermine traffic safety. The long-awaited legislation – known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, or FAST, […]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Photo courtesy tobacco.stanford.edu. FairWarining Investigates

Racial Politics Flavor Debate Over Banning Menthol Cigarettes

Lorillard Tobacco donated nearly four times as much to Republican candidates as to Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections. No surprise there — most businesses count on Republicans to hold the line on regulations and taxes. But Lorillard made a striking exception for one set of Democrats: African Americans. It gave campaign cash to half […]

Big Trucks, Big Bucks FairWarining Investigates

Big Trucks, Big Bucks

Heavy-Spending Trucking Industry Pushes Congress to Relax Safety Rules

Big rig crashes kill nearly 4,000 Americans each year and injure more than 85,000. Since 2009, fatalities involving large trucks have increased 17 percent. Injuries have gone up 28 percent. Given these numbers, you might expect Congress to be agitating for tighter controls on big rigs. In fact, many members are pushing for the opposite […]

Mike Elliott, a former BNSF employee who sued the railroad for retaliation. (Photo by Michael Dwass) FairWarining Investigates

For Big Railroads, a Carload of Whistleblower Complaints

As both a veteran railroad worker and union official responsible for safety, Mike Elliott became alarmed when he learned of trouble-plagued train signals in his home state of Washington. Signals, he said, at times would inexplicably switch from red to yellow to green – potentially creating confusion that could lead to a crash. Elliott raised […]

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Watchdog Finds That Nearly 1 in 5 OSHA Whistleblower Probes Are Flawed

Federal officials responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of employer retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations, a government watchdog reports. A review by the inspector general of the U.S. Labor Department found that 18 percent of the investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lack one or more […]

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Health Groups Laud Treatment of Tobacco in Trade Deal

The sweeping trade deal concluded Monday by negotiators from the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries still faces strong criticism from environmentalists, labor unions and many lawmakers– which makes its approval by Congress uncertain. But public health groups are rejoicing over a provision barring the tobacco industry from using the treaty, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to […]

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Railroad Vindicated as Judge Rejects Claim of Legal Corruption in Arbitration Case

A federal judge today rejected an allegation of legal corruption against BNSF Railway Co., ruling that a former company executive didn’t threaten to blackball an arbitrator to win a favorable ruling in a dispute with a fired worker. Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, Wash., said comments made to the arbitrator by the retired BNSF executive, […]

California Measure Takes Aim at Use of Antibiotics to Fatten Livestock FairWarining Reports

California Measure Takes Aim at Use of Antibiotics to Fatten Livestock

See update at bottom of story. With the threat of antibiotic-resistant germs on the rise, California Gov. Jerry Brown is poised to sign tough restrictions on administering antibiotics to livestock. Some public health experts contend that the overuse of antibiotics in cattle, pigs and other farm animals has contributed to the worldwide spread of bacteria […]

Workplace Deaths in U.S. Rise 2 Percent, Federal Report Shows FairWarining Reports

Workplace Deaths in U.S. Rise 2 Percent, Federal Report Shows

More Americans died on the job last year, with the increase concentrated among older employees as well as self-employed and contract workers. Preliminary federal figures released today for 2014 put the workplace death total at 4,679, up 2 percent from the final count of 4,585 for 2013. The new figures amount to the highest preliminary […]