Contest Entries

Chemicals at Home: Searching for Safe Alternatives

Entrants: Sarah Varney

Affiliation: KQED

Radio (Local markets, network, syndicated)

Year: 2008

Place: Second Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

After California banned phthalates in childrens' products, the reporter began to investigate what companies were using as alternatives. She found that few scientists knew much about the new chemical and there were no independent studies of the chemical. She discovered that there were questions about the chemical's safety.

Judges' comments: A compelling approach to dangerous chemicals in the home - the reporter put her own family's products into a scientific framework. She included lots of good information about the dangers of household products, and the conundrum of enforcing product safety. She also took on a story that has been widely reported as having reached a conclusion - the banning of dangerous chemicals - and unearthed unsettling evidence that the solution may be just as bad as the original problem. Despite the complexity of the science, the reportorial style was relaxed and engaging.

Listen to "Chemicals at Home: Searching for Safe Alternatives."

See the contest questionnaire about how this story was reported.