A geeky nonprofit watchdog group has done what government and private industry have failed to do; the group, SkyTruth, has made data about the ingredients in fracking fluid easily accessible to the public.
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When NPR's David Schultz wanted to report last month on whether extra mumps vaccinations given in 2009 to Jewish children in the NYC area had worked or had side effects, he ran up against an embargo imposed by the journal Pediatrics. If you worry about how embargoes affect journalists' access, you may want to follow Embargo Watch.
Fifteen environmental and public health groups say EPA had not allowed sufficient time for public review, only put relevant information into its docket at the last minute, and emphasized easing a "burden" utilities had lived with for years at the expense of protecting the public.
More than 70 scientists from research and health groups wrote House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders September 4, 2012, urging them not to cut funds for the biennial Report on Carcinogens, which showed that formaldehyde and styrene can cause cancer.
The Food and Drug Administration is so far refusing to name a Southwestern Indiana farm that voluntarily recalled its cantaloupes after a Salmonella outbreak last month that killed two people and sickened some 150.Region:
For years, scientists at the National Toxicology Program have published the "Report on Carcinogens," which lists chemicals known to (or believed to) cause cancer. The "12th Report on Carcinogens" was released on June 10, 2011 — will there be a 13th? Some House Republicans want to stop updating and publication of the report.
One starting point to covering agriculture — and the health implications of land and water use — is to follow the money using Environmental Working Group's major database tool. Any reporter covering the ag-environment link should know about it.Topics on the Beat:
Claims of trade secrecy — often unsubstantiated — are a huge barrier to environmental reporters and others trying to find the truth about chemicals that may harm human health and the environment. But the FBI's billboards urge Americans to be vigilant against corporate insiders who may appear suspicious, and presumably to turn them in.
The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.Topics on the Beat:
A Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals helps illustrate how federal agency control of what scientists say to reporters can help the chemical and tobacco industries. By reporter Michael Hawthorne.Topics on the Beat: