Today’s special: Grilled salmon laced with plastic

Nearly 50 years ago, scientists studying the North Atlantic Ocean started noticing that tiny fragments of plastic were turning up in their plankton and seaweed samples. The microparticles, they found, absorbed toxic chemicals and were then eaten by flounder, perch, and other fish. Until recently, though, researchers thought these ingested plastics stayed in a creature’s guts and… » Read More

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For years, complaints about North Carolina’s hog pollution vanished in state bureaucracy

In September 2016, with Tropical Storm Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, Kemp Burdette rented a single-engine plane and flew over Duplin County. Burdette, a riverkeeper with the environmental group Cape Fear River Watch, was worried that some of the local pig farmers might try to drain their manure lagoons before the rains hit, to… » Read More

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Are We Handling the Bee Crisis All Wrong?

On a crisp June morning at Knoll Farm, high above Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Charlie Nicholson stalked a bumblebee. He tiptoed behind the bee as it buzzed along a row of blueberry bushes, carrying a net that resembled a lacrosse stick. “The trick is to catch the bee without smashing the bush,” he said. “When… » Read More

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An unhealthy alliance between almonds and honeybees

In January, with the almond bloom in California’s orchards a month away, beekeepers across the country were fretting over their hives. A lot of their bees were dead, or sick. Beekeepers reported losing as much as half their hives over the winter.  Jack Brumley, a California beekeeper, said he’d heard of people losing 80 percent… » Read More

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Fifty years later, a daunting cleanup of Vietnam’s toxic legacy

In the thriving industrial city of Bien Hoa, about 20 miles east of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, there is a large air base, just beyond a sweeping bend in the Dong Nai River. During the American war in Vietnam, it was said to be the busiest airport in the world. Since the… » Read More

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The herbicide dicamba is sparking a civil war in farm country

In November 2018, FERN, in partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, published Liza Gross’s story of how the Environmental Protection Agency ignored decades of independent science in deciding to approve new and expanded uses of the weedkiller dicamba on soybeans. Now we have the next installment of our dicamba story, a radio… » Read More

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After mega-dairy was shut down, Oregon lawmakers consider a moratorium on new operations

An estimated 30 million gallons of cow manure awaited cleanup on the former site of Lost Valley farm, a mega-dairy in Boardman, Oregon, when it was sold in February. The mess was an apt symbol of the yearlong, beleaguered tenure of what had been the state’s second largest dairy. Lost Valley was shut down by… » Read More

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Bees face yet another lethal threat in dicamba, a drift-prone weedkiller

While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weedkiller dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields. When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were… » Read More

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The air they breathe

Rosemary Partridge has lived in Sac County, Iowa, for 40 years. She has watched the state’s agricultural landscape change, with large-scale hog farms taking over nearly all the land surrounding her home. The stink of the neighboring farms is “unbearable,” making her nauseous whenever she is outside. She and her husband, once cattle and crop… » Read More

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