Journalism in the Public Interest

Top MuckReads: Dubious Medicine, Dirty Underwear and Gas Drillers

Our rundown of this week’s best investigative or accountability journalism.


StateImpact Pennsylvania's news application tracks Mar­cel­lus Shale drillers.

Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.

Federal center pays good money for suspect medicine, Chicago Tribune

A little-known corner of government gets taxpayer money to research dubious medical methods, including coffee enemas to cure cancer, smelling lemons or lavender to heal wounds, and distant prayer to cure AIDS.

Contributed by @katchicago

Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Labor, Bloomberg Markets Magazine

The lingerie company’s products are certified as fair trade, but there is forced labor and child labor at some farms where Victoria's Secret gets some of its cotton. The company says it is investigating, and the accusations “describe behavior contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards we require all of our suppliers to meet.”

Contributed by @Brizzyc

Thousands of sugar cane workers die as wealthy nations stall on solutions, The Center for Public Integrity

Kidney failure has become a near epidemic among sugarcane workers in Central America. Since 2005, at least 2,800 men have died each year. Researchers suspect a toxin may be a trigger. But nobody knows for sure, in part because governments and international aid agencies have failed to investigate.  

Contributed by @ericuman

Powerful Pipes, Weak Oversight, Philadelphia Inquirer

In Pennsylvania's booming natural gas fields, there are fewer safety regulations and oversight than in any other state. "No one - and absolutely no one - is looking," said Deborah Goldberg, a lawyer with Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm focusing on the environment. A four-part series.

Contributed by @PhillyInquirer

Introducing StateImpact’s New Marcellus Shale App, StateImpact Pennsylvania

This interactive app tracks each Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania, with visual indicators of which wells have been committed violations. 

Contributed by @scottdetrow

Coliseum finance director earned Visa points on stadium upgrade, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Coliseum’s finance director charged $270,000 in upgrades to his personal credit card, allowing him to accrue his own reward points.The director defended the charged. "How does the agency get hurt?" he said.

Contributed by @palewire

These stories and many more can be found at ProPublica. You can also subscribe to a daily #MuckReads email or follow ProPublica on Twitter. Reader submissions are key to making #MuckReads a success -- please contribute!

You do so much work, those are some long articles. the kidney foundation said they have to use the word kidney as no one knows what renal means. CKD is Chronic Kidney Condition, check your eGFR-estimated glomerular filtration rate and BUN and Creatinine.

Avoid nonsteroidal anti inflammatories as ibuprofen, aleve, all cox2 inhibitors. iv and oral antibiotics and contrast dyes all of them no matter what study is being done. Say no to all contrast dyes and soon to be widely avail meds with TC99 technetium a nuclear waste product/tracer lingers in the body and bones. see those xrays films, dvds’s the patient’s can’t see their films anymore, what is hidden is deceptive. do you know your eGFR? this story is incredibly sad about sugar cane and chronic kidney disease. my eGFR is 55, low of 44 last year. They lied to me.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories