Environment

    Which U.S. Cities Get Failing Grades on Parks

    Being ranked among the most park-poor cities in America is a fitness test no city wants to flunk. But in 2020 amid the pandemic, the national “ParkScore” ratings issued by The Trust for Public Land took on greater meaning as overcrowding at home and lack of school recess put families in a bind.

      Warning Wire

      With Covid Death Toll About to Pass U.S. Fatalities in World War II, Biden Moves to Get Control of the Virus

      U.S. deaths from the coronavirus are about to pass the nation's toll from World War II, which claimed 418,500 American lives. Nearly one of every 800 Americans has died in the pandemic. President Biden has issued a series of directives to ramp up federal efforts to control the virus.

      Recent Stories

        Transportation Safety

        In Battle Against “the Highway Disease,” Traffic Safety Agency Attacked as Asleep at the Wheel

        NHTSA was established 50 years ago to reduce the toll of injuries and deaths on the nation's roads. But even as progress stalled, the agency cut back on key activities as part of the Trump administration's deregulatory crusade.

          Public Health

          Off-Target Pesticide Service Douses Neighboring Properties, People

          Alpine Helicopter Service has been implicated in dozens of complaints of crop loss and personal injury when pesticides it sprayed allegedly landed on the wrong targets. Now, the state of California is suing the company and taking a stand on pesticide misuse.

            Labor

            Under Attack for its Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, OSHA is Playing Catch-up

            Early In the pandemic, OSHA drew scathing criticism for a hands-off approach to a crisis that has claimed the lives of hundreds of essential workers. More recently, the agency began ramping up enforcement. Despite the burst of activity, a FairWarning review shows that inspectors are mostly responding to deaths or hospitalizations, as required by law, rather than flagging unsafe conditions before more workers get infected. 

              Consumer Protection

              Patients Pay Thousands for a Back Pain Treatment Promoted by Exaggerated Claims

              For three decades, the spinal decompression industry has promised relief to back pain patients. But stupendous claims of success are not backed up by scientifically rigorous research.

                Environment

                Presto Chango: How Flood Map Revisions Allow Building in Risky Areas

                Across the country, developers regularly use flood map changes to build in vulnerable areas after getting FEMA to approve measures such as elevating homes, building retention ponds and raising the land with fill. But it's not always enough to prevent flooding and increased risks for people nearby.

                  Consumer Protection

                  Safety Agency Tied in Knots in Bid to Prevent Harm to Children from Powerful Magnets 

                  In May, a nine-year old girl was taken to the emergency room after swallowing three powerful magnets that punched holes through her intestines. Such tiny rare earth magnets were to have been banned several years ago to prevent just this kind of life-threatening injury. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission was blocked by litigation that was decided in the agency’s favor just weeks ago.   

                    Consumer Protection

                    In the Cannabis Patch, a Patchwork of Safety Standards–and in Some Cases None At All

                    Although 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical use, there still are no uniform standards for regulating potentially harmful contaminants. And with five more states voting this November on whether to allow cannabis for the first time, the problem will only grow. 

                      Consumer Protection

                      String of Fatal Poisonings from Ingestion of Toxic Hand Sanitizer Highlights Limits of FDA Powers

                      Faced with a shortage of the usual active ingredient in hand sanitizer during the pandemic, some companies turned to a toxic alternative -- with sometimes fatal results.

                        Environment

                        EPA Takes a Back Seat as Citizens Confront the Plastics Industry Over an Insidious Pollutant

                        The plastics industry has presented itself as a constructive force in battling plastic pollution, while blaming the problem on messy consumers and weak disposal and recycling programs. Whatever the weight of that argument, it falls apart when it comes to tiny plastic pellets, which have escaped into waterways by the countless billions as a result of failures by industry, not consumers.

                          Environment

                          The Struggle to Crack Down on a Cottage Industry Sabotaging Vehicle Pollution Controls

                          Sales of ''defeat devices" that nullify emission controls in cars and trucks have exploded. The EPA estimates that they have been illegally installed on more than 500,000 diesel pickups. That's resulted in hundreds of thousands of extra tons of airborne pollutants that have been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart attacks and strokes.