Diane Wilson investigating microplastic pollution on Cox’s Creek in the Texas Gulf Coast town of Point Comfort. She led a group of local residents in a successful courtroom assault on giant Formosa Plastics. (Tamir Kalifa)

Tenacious citizens take on the plastics industry over an insidious pollutant

This story was produced by FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization based in Southern California that focuses on public health, consumer and environmental issues. Diane Wilson paddled her kayak up Cox’s Creek, watching out for spiders and snakes as she ducked under a low iron bridge. She wasn’t on an outing. She was on a mission. …

protestors with signs

Overlooked: women killed by police

Nearly 250 women have been fatally shot by police since 2015, when The Washington Post began tracking police shootings nationwide. While women represent a small subset of the 5,600 fatal shootings overall, they are also often overlooked. Many of them were in their homes when they were killed.

oil refinery

Anger over air quality

The American Lung Association ranks Bakersfield, Calif., as the most polluted city in the nation for average annual levels of dangerously high particle pollution. The city is second for short-term pollution spikes, a ranking Bakersfield has held in eight out of the last 10 reports.

decommissioned pumpjacks

Breathing problems

State regulators for more than a decade allowed a New Mexico refinery to delay fixing leaky equipment that was releasing toxic gases, including high levels of the carcinogen benzene.

recycling symbol

Recycling plastics not always an easy answer

Some materials are recycled at relatively high levels, but for plastic the rate is just eight percent. Another 16 percent is incinerated, and the remaining 76 percent ends up in landfills.

Pharmaceutical machine and pills

Concerns raised over FDA’s capacity to inspect overseas drug makers

With the U.S. increasingly dependent on foreign manufacturers for prescription and generic drugs, the Food and Drug Administration’s problem-plagued efforts to inspect overseas plants is under growing scrutiny. The number of inspections performed by the agency has been falling since 2016.

Oil refinery on fire

The Refinery Disaster

In Philadelphia, an air monitor on the border of the East Coast’s largest oil refinery recorded a level of cancer-causing gas more than 21 times the federal limit.