Environmental Safety and Health

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…

Noisy, But That's Not All FairWarining Investigates

Noisy, But That’s Not All

Leaf Blowers Flagged as Prodigious Polluters -- And Possible Health Threat

Five years after starting his first job with a landscaping crew in the suburbs of Seattle, Fredi Dubon decided he had enough and called it quits. The work days were long, sometimes 12 hours, but a bigger problem was having to inhale exhaust from his gas-powered leaf blower.

Johnson & Johnson Hit With Record Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $417 Million FairWarining Reports

Johnson & Johnson Hit With Record Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $417 Million

A Los Angeles jury today ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay damages of $417 million to a 62-year-old woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on years of using the company’s baby powder for feminine hygiene. It was the first California trial in the mushrooming legal battle over links between genital use of talc and ovarian…

New Lookup to Tell You What's in Your Water FairWarining Reports

New Lookup to Tell You What’s in Your Water

Want to know what hazards might be lurking in your local water supply? An updated online database launched today by the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, provides some answers. The online resource is known as the EWG’s Tap Water Database. It lists contaminants as well as their levels and likely sources, and…

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…