Material Research's collaborations with reporters, academics, and non-profit organizations.
Material Research's supply chain and toxic pollution analysis provide a foundation for this Defend Our Health study of PET beverage bottles.
Hidden Hazards reveals the potential threats to human health, environmental justice, and climate change created by the production of consumption of plastic-bottled beverages and final disposal of the bottles.
Toxic Free Future's investigation, supported by Material Research, uncovers the largest polluters of vinyl chloride in the U.S. and maps the communities regularly exposed to this dangerous chemical and its waste products.
Features an interactive map created by our ArcGIS team.
A Material Research StoryMap, published by Coming Clean, details 40 chemical incidents worldwide involving the production of vinyl chloride monomer and its derivative, polyvinyl chloride plastics. Reports reveal that these toxic chemical fires and explosions killed at least 71 people and injured 637 people since 2010.
Investigative reporter Carey Gillam highlights Material Research analysis for the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters.
The Coalition map of disasters was published the same day as this article and is routinely updated by Material Research and Coming Clean. It was viewed more than 300,000 times through September 2023, and referenced in dozens of articles worldwide.
PET is the most common material used to make plastic bottles. It can pose hidden health hazards to young children and other consumers. This investigation of PET found unsafe levels of plastics-related chemicals in some beverages packaged in plastic bottles, and traced them to their source factories.
Public Health Watch investigates the growing presence of the Saudi kingdom in the U.S. plastics industry. It finds that the Saudi petrochemical company, Sabic, is "among the top emitters of at least seven toxic substances documented by the TRI." Plants in Illinois, Indiana, and New York rank in the top two for tochemicals like Bisphenol A and 1,3-butadiene. The kingdom's brand new plastics plant near Corpus Christi, Texas - a joint venture with ExxonMobil - is already harming communities.
This report investigates the increased manufacturing of plastics in the Uyghur Region, the manufacturers’ use of state-sponsored labor transfers, the environmental damage
this manufacturing is causing, and the routes by which the resulting PVC-based products may make their way into international markets.
Published by the Helena Kennedy Center for Environmental Justice, which is part of Sheffield Hallam University (U.K.)
Multimedia Intercept reporting reveals the "human toll" of the vinyl flooring supply chain.
"PVC factories will spew an estimated 49 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. More difficult to measure is the human toll: the children separated from their parents, the workers who contract cancer decades later, the Uyghurs who lose the most productive years of their lives, all so that Americans can cheaply redo their home offices," writes Mara Hvistendahl.
This report published by CEH in collaboration with Autocase Economic Advisory and Material Research is the first to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions caused by coal-based vinyl flooring production.
It compares releases of carbon dioxide, mercury and other pollutants between PVC production in China and Texas. It further compares those results with industry Environmental Product Declarations. The authors found EPDs undercount emissions by 170%+ for floors made with PVC from China.
This research brief identifies the main fragrance chemicals and which are the facilities in the US involved in those supply chains. The brief also finds that there are at least 46 chemicals of concern commonly present in consumer products that are designed to expose people to these chemicals, such as body sprays and washes and air fresheners. Many are asthmagens, allergens. Some are suspected of disrupting human endocrine systems.
This research memo focused on the supply chain of Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds) that are commonly used in household cleaning products. The brief reveals that quats used in common household cleaners are made by just four little-known companies: Stepan Chemical (Elwood, Illinois), Lonza (Mapleton, Illinois), Pilot Chemical (a/k/a Mason Chemical, Joliet, Illinois), and Lewis Chemical (Rome, Ga.). México is home to Stepan México and Organo Sintesis.
Material Research's supply chain analysis helped the New York Times connect the dots between leather auto seats and deforestation in the Amazon.
Material Research's Oct 2021 brief for Black Women for Wellness revealed the pathways by which newly bottled asbestos-contaminated talc continued to enter the U.S., long after J&J pledged to sell only existing inventory.
The brief updates Material Research's 2020 analysis for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and the BWW-led coalition.
In August 2022, the coalition celebrated victory: J&J announced that it would discontinue talc-based baby powder sales worldwide by 2023.
This investigative report details the path of toxic pollution that results when making and using PFAS-treated packaging for fast food, starting with Daikin's chemical plant in Decatur, Alabama.
"Members of my community have been drinking poisoned water for decades because of plants like the local Daikin America facilities,” said Brenda Hampton, founder of Concerned Citizens of WMEL Water Authority. “No one’s drinking water should be poisoned to make burger wrappers.”
This report highlights just three of the industrial facilities that released toxic chemicals in the wake of Ida, and how the facility workers and people in the surrounding neighborhoods were impacted.
Case studies summarize chemical incidents related to Hurricane Ida at: the Shell Chemical, East Site facility in Norco, LA; the Cornerstone Chemical facility in Waggaman, LA; and the CF Industries facility in Donaldsonville, LA.
Related: Washington Post on Hurricane Laura and disaster in Westlake.
In May 2021, CEH notified the U.S. EPA that several companies, including ChevronPhillips Chemical (CPC) failed to report the import of toxic chemicals as required.
According to CEH and Material Research's review of import records, CPC failed to report over 359 million pounds of benzene and over 60 million pounds of dichlorobenzene (DCB).
A company spokesperson told Reuters in August 20they "corrected the reports with EPA and are reviewing procedures to ensure accurate reporting in the future."
Sharon Lerner reports, "Seven companies retroactively revised their TRI reports of ethylene oxide emissions for 12 facilities since 2018, when news broke about the additional dangers posed by the chemical, according to an analysis of EPA records done by The Intercept and Material Research. In the process, almost 270,000 pounds of ethylene oxide pollution vanished from the public record."
The Ecology Center (Ann Arbor) and Material Research tracked the supply chain that creates PFAS-coated pans. Two case studies are explored: one that connects communities from North Carolina to West Virgnia to Connecticut; the second focuses on China, the source of most coated pans sold in the U.S.
Material Research chemical safety advisor Rick Hind states the number of U S. ammonium nitrate facilities is unknown, according to government data, because of inconsistent reporting criteria and data limitations. At least 1,345 U .S. facilities reported storing ammonium nitrate in 2013. Ammonium nitrate accounts for 3% of fertilizer use, yet is unsafely stockpiled due to ineffective regulation. At least 230 facilities store the explsive chemical.
Investigation of Big Data in the world's oil fields.
"Contracts between tech firms and oil and gas companies are now found in every phase of the oil and gas production chain and are significantly undermining the climate commitments that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have made," Greenpeace USA found.
In response, Google pledged, “We will not … build custom A.I./ML algorithms to facilitate upstream extraction in the oil and gas industry."
Earthjustice submitted 20 Technical Reports prepared by Material Research to the U.S EPA docket to inform the agency's review of the chemicals’ conditions of use under The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The reports identify the companies the chemicals, at what volume, the chemicals’ distributions into commerce and waste, and adjacent communities receiving the pollution by land, air and water.
Subject include toxic plasticizers, solvents, and flame retardants.
Reports on ResearchGate.
Crude Bailout: How Global Partners' and Zenith Energy’s Oil Terminals Subvert Democracy, Endanger Human Life and Health, and Pollute the Planet reveals how billionaire investor, Koch brothers ally, and President Donald Trump legal backer Richard A. Kayne, and former President Obama’s U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are collaborating to get tar sands crude to market — by delivering tar sands crude-by-rail to export terminals in Oregon.
In Material Research's first collaboration, Healthy Building Network released Phase 2 of its landmark report on chlorine-based plastics that are widely used in common building and construction products. Phase 2: Asia completes HBN’s global analysis of the industry.
It includes details about 146 chlor-alkali plants and 113 polyvinyl chloride plants worldwide.