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As investigators unravel what caused a Texas fertilizer plant explosion last week that killed 14, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that 4,693 workers died on the job in 2011, three more than in 2010. Read more»

Like many, the Fertilizer Institute, a trade group, has extended its condolences to the people of West, Texas, where a blast at a fertilizer plant Wednesday evening killed at least a dozen and injured about 200. The Washington-based institute, however, has lobbied against legislation that would require high-risk chemical facilities – including some of its members – to consider using safer substances and processes to lower the risk of catastrophic accidents and make such facilities less inviting to terrorists. Read more»

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on fire in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Some question the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s decision to investigate the accident in light of other federal inquiries and a lengthy case backlog at the CSB. Still incomplete, the investigation has cost about $4 million.

As members of Congress raise questions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is auditing the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s investigative process. Read more»

Carlos Centeno with his partner, Velia Carbot. Centeno was employed as a temp worker at a Chicago-area factory in 2011 when a solution of hot water and citric acid erupted from a 500-gallon tank, burning him over 80 percent of his body.

America currently has 2.5 million temporary, or contingent, workers — a growing but mostly invisible group of laborers who often toil in the least desirable, most dangerous jobs. Such workers are hurt more frequently than permanent employees and their injuries often go unrecorded. Read more»

A bus in Guatemala spews a black cloud of diesel exhaust fumes.

Diesel engine exhaust is “carcinogenic to humans,” an international health body declared Tuesday, bolstering the findings of a controversial study published recently in the United States. Read more»

A whistleblower who was fired by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after complaining publicly about the poor quality of injury and illness data kept by employers has won a major court victory. Read more»

Tugboats battle the blaze following the explosion at the Deeepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010. Eleven workers died in the accident.

The Department of Labor reported Wednesday that 4,690 U.S. workers suffered fatal injuries in 2010, a 3 percent increase from 2009. Read more»

Recent legislation would leave many communities vulnerable to airborne chemicals, among them Chester, Pa. 'They told me a long time ago that I should move,' said Elwood Patrick, 'and I wish I had.'

The stumbling, two-decade-old war on hazardous air pollutants — declared on Nov. 15, 1990, the day President George H. W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act amendments into law — has stalled on bureaucratic dawdling, industry resistance, legal maneuvering, limited resources and politics. Read more»

The Asarco copper smelter looms over Hayden.

In some Hayden families, generations claim to have suffered ill effects from air pollution from the town's copper smelter. Deaths from cancer are common. Now the feds are moving against Asarco when the state wouldn't, which could mean millions in fines for the copper giant. (with video) Read more»

This spreadsheet contains the names and locations of 464 facilities on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s internal Clean Air Act “watch list.” The list includes serious or chronic violators of the act that have faced no formal enforcement action for many months. Until now, the list has not been made public. Read more»

After years of complaints by citizens and inaction by state regulators, much of the black carbon mist has finally lifted in the Oklahoma community where Karen Howe lives.

Americans might expect the government to protect them from unsafe air, but insidious forms of toxic air pollution persist in hundreds of communities across the United States. Read more»

Rooftops in Mumbai, India, are made from materials containing asbestos. Canada is a major exporter of Chrysotile asbestos to India.

Canada reinforced its reputation as a public health outcast this week by declining to support the inclusion of asbestos on a toxics blacklist. Read more»

For an agency so widely feared and demonized by American business, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a relative pushover. Compared to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has tough statutes such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act at its disposal, OSHA is a paper tiger. Read more» 1