FairWarning Investigates

Open Burning at U.S. Military Sites Inflames Activists in Nearby Towns FairWarining Investigates

Open Burning at U.S. Military Sites Inflames Activists in Nearby Towns

Soon after Erin Card moved to within two miles of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia two years ago, she began to notice threads of smoke that occasionally rose above the heavily wooded site. She started asking about the source, and eventually was stunned by what she learned: Toxic explosives were being burned in…

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 year.

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department FairWarining Investigates

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department

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

In November, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced fines against businesses with workers who were killed when they were pulled into a wood chipper, burned in a refinery fire and crushed in collapsing grain bins and construction trenches. In all, OSHA issued 33 enforcement news releases that month, and over 50 more from…

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…

Battling Menthol Restrictions, R.J. Reynolds Reaches Out to Sharpton, Other Black Leaders FairWarining Investigates

Battling Menthol Restrictions, R.J. Reynolds Reaches Out to Sharpton, Other Black Leaders

Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, the top seller of the menthol cigarettes favored by most black smokers, is seizing on the hot button issue of police harassment of blacks to counter efforts by public health advocates to restrict menthol sales. In recent months, the company has quietly enlisted black groups and leaders, including civil rights activist…

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…