UPDATE: Freedom Industries President Faces Criminal Charges for West Virginia Chemical Leak

The FBI has filed criminal charges against Freedom Industries President Gary Southern for allegedly making false statements regarding January’s chemical spill into the Elk River. The FBI’s complaint charges Southern with bankruptcy fraud, making a false oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, and wire fraud. According to the complaint, “Shortly after the leak and discharge of MCHM into the Elk River was discovered on January 9, 2014, Southern engaged in a pattern of deceitful behavior, which included numerous false and/or fraudulent statements about his role at Freedom, his role in the sale of Freedom to Chemstream, and his knowledge about conditions at the Etowah Facility.” If Southern is found guilty on all counts, he could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

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Freedom of Information Act Reform Prevails over Last-Minute Holds

In the final days of the 113th Congress, the Senate successfully passed bipartisan legislation to reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The measure prevailed after several senators placed holds on the bill, temporarily blocking a vote. The last hold, by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), was lifted Monday afternoon, and the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent. The House, which already passed a version of the legislation, now has a handful of days to approve the Senate bill and send it to President Obama for his signature. 

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Strawberry Fields Forever? California's Pesticide Addiction Harms Local Communities

If you've eaten strawberries recently, you can probably thank a California grower. Mild temperatures and an extended growing season mean that at least 80 percent of strawberries sold in the U.S. originate from the state. However, new research suggests that the tasty fruit comes with a heavy price for local communities because of the extensive use of harmful pesticides.   Those living near strawberry fields face higher risks of cancer and other health problems from exposure to the chemicals.

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Outgoing Maryland Governor Proposes Strongest Fracking Protections in the Nation

Maryland may soon join neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania by allowing fracking in the state. Outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he will open the doors to drilling companies as long as they follow strict safeguards for protecting public health and the environment.

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Mapping DuPont's Deadly Chemical Leak

On Saturday, Nov. 15, a toxic chemical leak at a DuPont manufacturing plant outside of Houston killed four workers and hospitalized another, serving as another troubling example of the need for stronger chemical safety standards. The chemical involved in the leak, methyl mercaptan, can cause eye and lung irritation and can be fatal at high levels. Numerous other U.S. facilities use and store this chemical, including those featured in a new interactive map by the Center for Effective Government.

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Perilous Powder: Asbestos in Cosmetics Causes Lung Cancer

When people think of asbestos, they may envision trained workers in hazmat suits removing asbestos insulation from older buildings. What many people don’t realize is that asbestos is still used in a variety of consumer products ranging from clothing to floor tiles. A recent peer-reviewed study found asbestos in one brand of talcum powder and linked its use to a woman’s death from lung cancer.

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New Study Finds Life-Threatening Formaldehyde Levels at Fracking Sites

People living near fracking sites have reported health problems for years, with symptoms ranging from respiratory ailments to birth defects. But because air and water quality are often not monitored near fracking sites, surprisingly little is known about the overall public health impacts of the gas drilling process.

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New Interactive Maps Show Chemical Risks in Legislative Districts

As we near the midterm elections, voters are considering many important issues, from the economy to fair wages to health care. But have you considered whether children in your legislative district are safe from chemical disasters? New interactive maps released by the Center for Effective Government show the percentage of schoolchildren at risk of chemical catastrophes in congressional districts and state legislative districts. The results are alarming.

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One in Three: Interactive Map, Report Show Kids in Danger of Chemical Catastrophes

One in three U.S. schoolchildren attends school within the danger zone of a high-risk chemical facility, according to a report and interactive map released today by the Center for Effective Government. These children face the risk of chemical leaks and explosions simply by going to school. Safer chemicals and technologies would reduce the danger to our children, and they should be required whenever feasible.

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Kids in Danger Zones: One in Three Schoolchildren Face Risk of Chemical Catastrophe

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2014—A new interactive map and study released today by the Center for Effective Government find that one in three American schoolchildren attends school within the danger zone of a hazardous chemical facility.

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