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Oldies but Goodies

Environment

EPA Takes a Back Seat as Citizens Confront the Plastics Industry Over an Insidious Pollutant

The plastics industry has presented itself as a constructive force in battling plastic pollution, while blaming the problem on messy consumers and weak disposal and recycling programs. Whatever the weight of that argument, it falls apart when it comes to tiny plastic pellets, which have escaped into waterways by the countless billions as a result of failures by industry, not consumers.

Environment

The Struggle to Crack Down on a Cottage Industry Sabotaging Vehicle Pollution Controls

Sales of ''defeat devices" that nullify emission controls in cars and trucks have exploded. The EPA estimates that they have been illegally installed on more than 500,000 diesel pickups. That's resulted in hundreds of thousands of extra tons of airborne pollutants that have been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart attacks and strokes. 

Oldies but Goodies

“Fair Warning,” the Book: Michael Connelly in Conversation with Editor Myron Levin

You may have heard how Michael Connelly’s latest crime thriller, “Fair Warning”, came by its title. This third bestseller in the Jack McEvoy series finds Jack working as an investigative reporter for our nonprofit news organization.

Consumer Protection

Precious Keepsake or Needless Risk? Ultrasound Businesses Peddle Fetal Photos to Anxious Parents

The FDA has repeatedly urged expectant mothers to avoid medically unnecessary ultrasounds, like those performed for entertainment's sake at keepsake ultrasound clinics. The situation reflects a misconception, even among some medical professionals, that repeated, long-term exposure is proven to be harmless to the developing fetus.

Consumer Protection

A Major Player in Solar Energy Leaves Some Customers Seething

This sounds too good to be true, was one of Brenda Ortiz’s first thoughts when a salesman showed up at her front door in Riverside County, California, in October 2018. He was with Vivint Solar, Ortiz recalled him saying, and

Environment

Fields of Waste: Artificial Turf, Touted as Recycling Fix for Millions of Scrap Tires, Becomes Mounting Disposal Mess

With hundreds of fields reaching end of life each year, the artificial turf industry is under pressure to find a sustainable solution.

Consumer Protection

What’s in a Name? Ghostly Spirits, Spinning Science to Sell Drugs, Stalk the Medical Literature

Court proceedings, investigations and whistleblower accounts have revealed a long history of drug companies manipulating the literature to promote their drugs or disparage rival products--with the aim of getting doctors to prescribe more of their meds.

Consumer Protection

Spinning Blades, Broken Bodies and Danger by Design

A safety standard created by the lawn mower industry hasn't stopped riding mowers from backing over and seriously injuring small children.

Labor

When Workers Are Killed on Small Farms, OSHA’s Hands Are Tied

A fateful decision by Congress more than 40 years ago gives the sites unique immunity from safety oversight, even as hundreds of employees have been killed or seriously injured.

Labor

With Rise in Chemotherapy for Pets, Higher Risks for Veterinary Staff

As more dogs and cats are treated for cancer, veterinarians and their assistants increasingly face the risk of exposure to hazardous drugs, which are often being handled without proper safeguards.

Labor

California Conservation Corps Failed to Heed Warning Signs Before Fatal Van Crash

A deadly collision that killed three members of the California Conservation Corps appeared to be a simple case of one person’s carelessness. Yet facts and circumstances never disclosed until now tell a more complicated story about the state agency’s own role in the incident.

Consumer Protection

Baby Powder Battles: Johnson & Johnson Internal Documents Reveal Asbestos Worries

In the early 1970s, a Johnson & Johnson official posed a question that haunts the company today. If Johnson's Baby Powder contained asbestos at a level of, say, 1 percent, how much of the cancer-causing substance would a baby inhale when dusted with the powder?

Environment

Noisy, But That’s Not All

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.

Labor

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 jagged piles of scrap metal bound for the smelter.

Consumer Protection

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats

Kayla Davidson and her son, Maxx, who was four-years-old when he died in a rear-end collision in Memphis in April, 2014. 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 [...]