Extra Extra : Science

Disciplined doctor behind controversial sports supplement study

The latest installment in USA TODAY’s ongoing “Supplement Shell Game” investigation published today finds that the key author of a safety study of the controversial sports supplement Craze is a doctor who has been disciplined in two states for issues relating to fraudulent billing practices and other misrepresentations. Now the editor of the peer reviewed journal that published the study says he has “serious concerns” about the research after being contacted by scientists and USA TODAY.

Extra Extra Monday: Billions given--not received, town sells water at a discount to NSA, Puerto Rico in financial troubles

Donor-advised funds: Where charity goes to wait | The Boston Globe
$45 billion of American philanthropic money has been given—but not received.

Utah town gave NSA a deal on water | The Salt Lake Tribune
Bluffdale agreed to sell water to the National Security Agency at a rate below its own guidelines and the Utah average in order to secure the contract and spur economic development in the town, according to records and interviews.

KCMO Homeland Security official under fire for awarding quarter-million dollar contract to neighbor | KSHB-Kansas City
A high-ranking federal law enforcement official with the Department of Homeland Security ...

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The secret, dirty cost of Obama's green power push

The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today. Farmers have wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and contaminated water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found. Five million acres of land set aside for conservation have been converted. The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy.

Extra Extra Monday: Child sex trafficking, cigarette money and sweatshop workers

The Stolen Ones | The Sarasota Herald Tribune
Child sex trafficking is an underground economy that thrives here, and everywhere. How can we help those who have been ignored for so long?

Some N.J. private schools for disabled students cashing in on taxpayers | New Jersey Star-Ledger
A two-month Star-Ledger investigation found Somerset Hills and schools like it operate in a twilight zone of the state education system, under a unique set of rules that allows them to spend taxpayer money in ways few would tolerate of public schools.

15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go? | NPR
Fifteen ...

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Highway exhaust plagues many schools in Washington state

An InvestigateWest analysis found nearly 30 public schools in Washington sit within 500 feet of a major road, which decades of study have shown cause lifelong respiratory problems and asthma attacks through air polution and can boost school absenteeism. In one case of a school that re-opened in close proximity to a highway, 21 months passed between a concerned email from a health expert and action from the Seattle Schools officials. The re-opening of that school, John Marshall Junior High, accordign to InvestigateWest represents "one example of how, when it comes to air pollution near roads, Washington state school policies ...

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USA Today examines players in the risky supplement game

USA Today launched the first part of its investigation titled Supplement Shell Game: The People behind risky pills. The first article examines Matt Cahill, who has spent time in federal prison and now faces another federal charge after creating a series of products over the past 12 years -- one of which contained a pesticide banned for human consumption. One of Cahill's supplements, Craze, was marketed as "all-natural" and rated Supplement of the Year, and later was found to include undisclosed levels of amphetamine-like compounds. The supplement has been linked to several athletes' liver failures.

Experts told USA Today that ...

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Extra Extra Monday: terrorism fears and chemical plants, mental health gaps, factory farm pollution

Terrorism fears have led government to cloak the danger of hazardous chemical plants | The Houston Chronicle
"Around the country, hundreds of buildings like the one in West store some type of ammonium nitrate. They sit in quiet fields and by riverside docks, in business districts and around the corner from schools, hospitals and day care centers. By law, this shouldn’t be a mystery. Yet fears of terrorism have made it harder than ever for homeowners to find out what dangerous chemicals are hidden nearby. Poor communication can also keep rescue workers in the dark about the risks they face ...

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Boeing, allies torpedoed Washington state plan for toxic fish

Investigate West has obtained new documents that tell the story of Boeing and its allies worked to delay rules regarding consumption of toxic fish in Washington. This issue has become a political dilemma for Washington policy makers, with Indian tribes on one side wanting stricter water pollution rules to prevent consumption of toxic fish, and an influential aerospace industry that was dead set against tightening the rules.

FDA let drugs approved by fraudulent research stay on market

ProPublica reports that in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced years' worth of studies from a major drug research lab were potentially worthless. Those studies were part of the bases for about 100 drugs that made it to the U.S. market. According to ProPublica, the FDA let those drugs stay on pharmacy shelves with no new testing and has refused to name the drugs, saying to do so would reveal trade secrets. Meanwhile, the FDA's European counterpart ordered several of the drugs to be pulled from shelves.
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