Credit U.S. Forest Service / Oregon State University Libraries
Controlling dust from activities like this was on the minds of those in the Department of Labor in the 1930s, as silicosis, a lung disease, was taking a toll on American workers. Above, a worker jackhammers into rock in Lassen National Forest in California in 1934, preparing to shoot explosives.
Credit Bloomberg via Getty Images
A worker sprays water onto a large circular saw as the machine cuts sandstone in Sydney, Australia, in 2005. Applying water can help reduce the amount of dust that makes it into the air.
Any job that involves breaking up rock or concrete or brick can potentially expose workers to dangerous silica dust, and last year it looked like the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was about to put stricter controls in place to limit this health hazard.
The town of Nitro has its beginnings in 1917, when the U.S. government created it as a place to locate a munitions plant.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
The former Monsanto chemical plant site along the Kanawha River, where for more than 20 years, the plant produced a herbicide that is the principal component of Agent Orange.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
A gate into the former Monsanto chemical plant near Nitro, W.Va. A class-action lawsuit filed against Monsanto (and subsequent company Solutia) claims the company improperly polluted the town with dioxin.
For about two decades, ending in 1971, a former Monsanto chemical plant in West Virginia produced the herbicide 2,4,5-T which was used in "Agent Orange" — the defoliant the military sprayed over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Now, Monsanto faces a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of people living where the herbicide was manufactured in Nitro, W.Va.
As the Republican candidates were rallying their supporters in Florida on Tuesday night, their campaigns were quietly sending disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission in Washington. The big picture: Mitt Romney had more money than Newt Gingrich. President Obama had more than either of them. And a few of the new superPACs filed donor lists filled with high rollers.
Tuesday's disclosures run only through Dec. 31 but still reveal some essential truths.
Drug errors inside hospitals remain a big problem.
By one estimate, 1 in 7 hospitalized patients suffers some form of error in care. Nearly a third of those mistakes are related to drugs. And those mix-ups can lead to longer hospital stays, unnecessary suffering, permanent damage or death.
One way to reduce mistakes is to have doctors enter the prescriptions on a computer instead of with pen and paper. After the switch, hospitals can see error rates drop by a whopping 60 percent.