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Contest Entries

Warning: This Bottle May Contain Toxic Chemicals. Or Not

Entrants: David Case

Affiliation: Fast Company

General Interest Magazines below 1 million circ.

Year: 2009

Place: First Place

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

Everyone agrees that BPA, or bisphenol A, is everywhere, from dental fillings to cell phones to baby bottles-but is it a dangerous endocrine disrupter or a useful, perfectly safe chemical? This account of warring studies-independent ones that find evidence of adverse health consequences vs. industry-funded ones that find none-is a case study of the way commercial interests can distort science, and the failure of the government to cat decisively to protect public health.

Judges' comments: Our trust in science was shaken after reading Fast Company's investigation of BPA. The writer, David Case, makes a compelling argument that commercial interests – in this case plastic manufacturers – distort science and manufacture doubt in order to keep their products on the market. With its detailed revelations, the piece ultimately shows us how all industry can try to co-op science to serve a profit-making agenda. And our government, sadly, may be more complicit than we know. Excellent reporting, good storytelling, and some truly brilliant sidebars add up to a winning entry.

Read "Warning: This Bottle May Contain Toxic Chemicals. Or Not."

See the contest questionnaire in which the reporter writes about how this story was written.