Air Pollution/Toxic Exposure

Air Check

Leaf blowers can make an infernal racket, and environmental officials say that exhaust from blowers and other gas-powered lawn and garden equipment is a surprisingly big source of air pollution. But are landscaping workers who use the equipment day in and day out exposed to potentially harmful emissions? A 2006 study by the U.S. Environmental…

Scientists Urge Tighter Scrutiny of Germ-Fighting Chemicals FairWarining Reports

Scientists Urge Tighter Scrutiny of Germ-Fighting Chemicals

More than 200 scientists and public health advocates are urging regulators to take a closer look at the potential dangers of antimicrobial chemicals including triclosan, an additive that has been banned from hand soaps but remains an active ingredient in products ranging from building materials to Colgate’s Total toothpaste. The call for better labeling and…

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…

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…

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…

Death Toll Climbs for Walkers and Cyclists as Traffic Safety Measures Take a Back Seat FairWarining Reports

Death Toll Climbs for Walkers and Cyclists as Traffic Safety Measures Take a Back Seat

More Americans are bicycling or walking to work these days, getting healthy exercise and doing their bit to reduce traffic and air pollution. But with little government investment in safety measures, such as protected bike lanes and sidewalks, more cyclists and pedestrians also are getting killed. Fatalities jumped nationally last year among bicyclists, rising 12.2…

Report Cites Large Inventory of Carcinogens in Peoples’ Bodies FairWarining Reports

Report Cites Large Inventory of Carcinogens in Peoples’ Bodies

As many as 420 known or suspected carcinogens have been found in human populations through monitoring studies conducted across the globe, according to a first-of-its-kind literature review released today by the Environmental Working Group. “The array of carcinogens detected in humans is alarming,” says the report by Curt DellaValle, a senior scientist with EWG, a…

Dueling Labels Seek to Anoint Products Free of Toxic Chemicals FairWarining Reports

Dueling Labels Seek to Anoint Products Free of Toxic Chemicals

Internet entrepreneur and branding consultant Amy Ziff says she had to become a “weekend toxicologist” five years ago when she discovered her twins were allergic to diapers, baby wipes, creams and lotions. She found herself researching the ingredients of consumer products to see if they could give her children rashes or blotchy skin. The experience…

Report Renews Concern About Asbestos-Like Minerals at Sites in Arid West FairWarining Reports

Report Renews Concern About Asbestos-Like Minerals at Sites in Arid West

Recent research is focusing new attention on an asbestos-like mineral, blamed for staggering rates of a deadly cancer in Turkey, that also is found in the rocks and soil of 13 Western states. The U.S. Geological Survey has identified 95 sites where the mineral, erionite, exists. And a recent hazard assessment at one of the…

Doubts Raised About Chemical Stew in Fragrances Used in Consumer Products FairWarining Reports

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…