journalism

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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EPA seeks to add DINP plasticizer to toxics list

Proposal comes 20 years after regulators first suggested the additive is a health risk

Peter Dykstra: Greenwashing’s medieval age

Old school greenwashers and deniers with staying power.

PFAS: The latest toxic concern for those near fracking

The “forever chemicals” are used by the oil and gas industry, but a lack of transparency and accountability makes it impossible to know how widespread contamination could be.

How Colorado is preventing PFAS contamination from the oil and gas industry

And how other states, including Pennsylvania, could do the same.

Evidence of PFAS in toilet paper (Yes, toilet paper!)

Testing finds fluorine — an indicator of PFAS — in four brands of toilet paper. However, the levels indicate the chemicals are unlikely added on purpose.