FairWarning Investigates

Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates FairWarining Investigates

Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates

After a long downward trend, U.S. traffic deaths are on the rise again, and a key factor is the stubbornly high fatality toll among some of the most exposed people on the road: motorcyclists. Nevertheless, federal regulators have balked at requiring a safety measure that, many experts say, could save hundreds of bikers’ lives every…

Novel Strategy for Dealing with Toxic Contamination: Do Nothing FairWarining Investigates

Novel Strategy for Dealing with Toxic Contamination: Do Nothing

At toxic cleanup sites across the country, environmental agencies have allowed groundwater contamination to go untreated and slowly diminish over time—a strategy that saves money for polluters but could cost taxpayers dearly and jeopardize drinking water supplies. The strategy is called monitored natural attenuation, or MNA. With little public awareness or debate, it has come…

Brain Boosters a Gold Mine for Supplements Industry But Benefits Are Hotly Disputed FairWarining Investigates

Brain Boosters a Gold Mine for Supplements Industry But Benefits Are Hotly Disputed

A few years ago, motivated by a family history of dementia, Bea Pena-Reames began using a dietary supplement that promised improved memory and brain health. It was advertised as safe and effective – but that was not her experience. “I’m typically a joyful person, but I couldn’t shake this depression and intense sense of sadness,”…

OSHA's Wall of Shame FairWarining Investigates

OSHA’s Wall of Shame

With Limited Staff, Agency Targets 'Severe Violators'

Soon after beginning their cleanup of a fume-filled tanker car at an Omaha, Neb., rail maintenance yard, Adrian LaPour and Dallas Foulk were dead. An explosion that April 2015 afternoon trapped LaPour in a flash fire inside the car and hurled Foulk out the top to his death. Six months later their employer, Nebraska Railcar…

They're Everywhere! FairWarining Investigates

They’re Everywhere!

Big Companies in Legal Scrapes Turn to Science-for-Hire Giant Exponent

The Fall of Icarus is the Greek myth about a youth who gets a pair of wax-and-feather wings but soars too close to the sun–melting the wings and casting him into the sea. In the 1990s, a consulting firm called Failure Analysis Associates ran tongue-in-cheek ads aimed at corporate lawyers that retold the myth as…

A Moving Story FairWarining Investigates

A Moving Story

Crooked Movers Victimize Consumers and Usually Get Away With It

Gwen Caplan’s nightmare began with a Yelp search. It was the summer of 2012 and the middle-aged mother of two was looking for someone to move her and her kids from San Rafael, Calif., to Glendale, Ariz. Money was tight, so Caplan scoured the web for an affordable but reputable moving company. Her search unearthed…

Swarms of Drug Industry Lobbyists and Campaign Cash Stymie Bid to Restrain Medicare Prescription Costs FairWarining Investigates

Swarms of Drug Industry Lobbyists and Campaign Cash Stymie Bid to Restrain Medicare Prescription Costs

See the editor’s note at the bottom of this story. When the Republican-controlled Congress approved a landmark program in 2003 to help seniors buy prescription drugs, it slapped on an unusual restriction: The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. Instead, the job of holding down costs was outsourced to the…

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job FairWarining Investigates

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job

Darkness had enveloped the Newell Recycling yard by the time Erik Hilario climbed into a front-end loader on a cold evening in January 2011. Just 19 years old, Hilario, an undocumented immigrant, had followed his father from Mexico to an industrial park in East Point, Ga., near Atlanta, where they worked as low-skilled laborers amid…

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats FairWarining Investigates

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats

Freakish as it may have seemed, the accident that killed 13-month-old Weston Kingsley was hardly unforeseeable. On the day he died in February 2014, he was buckled into his car seat behind his father, Jonathon Kingsley, who was at the wheel of the family minivan. Jonathon and his wife, Kelsey, of Old Fort, N.C., were…

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions FairWarining Investigates

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions

Editor's note: Editor's note: See the update at the bottom of this story.

On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about $1,000. The 2.8-pound drone, advertised as “easy to fly,” proved anything…