Environmental Safety and Health

U.S. Senators Ask: What's Up at OSHA? FairWarining Reports

U.S. Senators Ask: What’s Up at OSHA?

In the four months since President Trump took office, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued four news releases announcing penalties for job safety violations. By the end of May last year, it had issued 199. The recent reticence has spurred six U.S. senators, all Democrats, to ask what’s up at OSHA. In…

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…

Johnson & Johnson Wins Its First Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case FairWarining Reports

Johnson & Johnson Wins Its First Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case

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

Breaking a string of lopsided courtroom defeats, Johnson & Johnson scored a legal victory Friday when a St. Louis jury rejected the claim of an ovarian cancer victim that her use of talc powders for feminine hygiene caused the disease. The defense verdict in St. Louis Circuit Court followed three plaintiffs’ victories last year with…

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…

Ketchup or PFAS With Those Fries? FairWarining Reports

Ketchup or PFAS With Those Fries?

Researchers Raise Concerns About Chemicals in Fast-Food Packaging

As if cheeseburgers, fries and microwave popcorn weren’t enough of a dietary worry, now comes word that fast-food packaging is also a cause for concern. In a paper published today, federal government and university researchers report finding chemicals from a suspect family of compounds in the wrappers and containers of one out of every three…

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…

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…

Another Big Defeat for Johnson & Johnson in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case FairWarining Reports

Another Big Defeat for Johnson & Johnson in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case

Johnson & Johnson suffered a second straight legal defeat in defense of its signature talc products on Monday when it was ordered to pay $55 million in damages to a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the use of Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. After about 10 hours of deliberations, a state court…

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own FairWarining Reports

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own

For nearly five years, Darrell Whitman was a federal investigator who probed whistleblowers’ complaints about being fired or otherwise punished for exposing alleged corporate misconduct. He wanted to help whistleblowers, viewing them as a crucial line of defense against employers who violated health and safety standards or wasted taxpayer dollars. But now Whitman, 70, is…

After Long Delays, Feds Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust FairWarining Reports

After Long Delays, Feds Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust

After years of inaction, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration today unveiled tougher standards, widely opposed by industry, to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. Commonly found in sand, concrete and stone, silica has long been recognized as a critical workplace hazard when pulverized into dust. Miners, stonecutters and other laborers who have…