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Our top 5 long reads of 2021

Check out must-read, in-depth reporting from the past year.

In a world of quick clips and soundbites, long-form journalism can be a tough sell. But some stories just deserve the space and attention.


Here are five long reads that rise to that level. Grab a coffee or tea, close your Twitter tab, and support the kind of reporting that can spark change.

1. Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking

fracking children health

In this 4-part investigative series, EHN finds western Pennsylvania families near fracking are exposed to harmful chemicals, and regulations fail to protect communities' mental, physical, and social health.

2. Why Indigenous women are risking arrest to fight Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota

enbridge line 3 indigenous

Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline construction is running into tribal resistance over fears of water pollution, wild rice impacts, climate change, and exploitation of Native women.

3. We’re dumping loads of retardant chemicals to fight wildfires. What does it mean for wildlife?

wildfires climate change

As western wildfires become bigger and more intense, state and federal fire agencies are using more and more aerial fire retardant, prompting concerns over fish kills, aquatic life, and water quality.

4. Pollution’s mental toll: How air, water and climate pollution shape our mental health

environmental justice

A collaboration between Environmental Health News and The Allegheny Front found alarming evidence that residents throughout the western Pennsylvania region are likely suffering changes to their brains due to pollution in the surrounding environment.

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Today's top news

Evidence of PFAS in sanitary and incontinence pads

The findings come on the heels of other testing that found the forever chemicals in some popular tampons.

EU’s new climate change plan will cause biodiversity loss and deforestation: Analysis

In a plan full of sustainable efforts, the incentivizing of biomass burning has climate experts concerned.

From our newsroom

Peter Dykstra: Public disservants

A quartet of Interior Secretaries who gave the rest a bad name.

Op-ed: It’s time to re-think the United Nations’ COP climate negotiations

Instead of focusing on negotiations, let the main event be information sharing, financing and partnerships that produce faster technological change.

LISTEN: Beau Taylor Morton on the power of community organizing

“People can see you engaged and wanting to begin the work, not only as a researcher, but you’re invested in the community.”

Op-ed: What the media gets wrong about the new world population numbers

The last time that we lived within the productivity limits of our planet was about 50 years ago — that is a problem.

Pennsylvania’s first proposed hazardous waste landfill would be near homes and schools

Residents can voice their opinions at an upcoming public hearing or in public comments.