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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Mulvaney Lobs One Last Softball To Industry Opponents of CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

As the year 2018 came to an end, U.S. PIRG, Americans for Financial Reform and AFR members filed the last in in a seemingly interminable series of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Requests for Information. Although there was no clear intent to this "Data Collection" RFI, we, and allied academic scholars who filed a separate comment, both inferred it as another opportunity for industry opponents of the CFPB to attack the Bureau's consumer protection mission -- this time by challenging its collection and use of data to evaluate and respond to financial marketplace problems that harm consumers. 

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Blog Post | Health Care

Prescription Drug Price Hikes Coming in January | Emily Rusch

Today Reuters broke a story about at least 30 drugmakers that are planning to raise their U.S. prices on medicine in January 2019. The information was gathered thanks to California bill SB 17, authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, supported by CALPIRG, and signed into law last year.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Antibiotics

McDonald’s Takes Step to Protect Public Health, Commits to Reduce Medically Important Antibiotic Use in Beef Supply

Today, McDonald’s released a new policy to restrict medically important antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The company will monitor antibiotic use in its top ten beef sourcing markets and set reduction targets for medically important antibiotic use by the end of 2020. Principles in the policy include restricting the routine use of the drugs to prevent disease, a practice that the World Health Organization recommends ending because it breeds antibiotic resistant bacteria. As the largest beef purchaser in the United States, McDonald’s new commitment could spark an industry-wide change to help keep antibiotics effective.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New car seats made without toxic flame-retardant chemicals

Car seats are supposed to keep our youngest children safe. But though they may protect infants and toddlers during accidents, car seats have a history of containing toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

That’s finally changing.

Today, a coalition of groups including U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Ecology Center’s “Healthy Stuff” program released test results on car seats in a new report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. The authors collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

EU NGOs Blast Google Locational Data Collection as US Groups Blast FTC on Privacy | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, 7 member groups of the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) asked each of their national Data Protection Authorities to investigate Google Android's smartphone locational data collection practices following an investigative report by the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) finding that Google may be in violation of the new European GDPR privacy law. All the groups are members of the U.S. PIRG-backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue, which itself  followed up on the report and EU actions with a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Meanwhile, as the Senate prepared for an afternoon FTC oversight hearing today where Facebook may be a focus, we joined leading groups in a separate letter to complain to the FTC about its biased staff report that adopts unsubstantiated industry claims in defense of an FTC call to the administration for weak baseline privacy choices. 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report: Protecting Consumers One Year After Equifax Breach

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, Equifax announced that hackers had breached its system and accessed the data of nearly 150 million U.S. consumers. To mark the anniversary of that notorious announcement, CALPIRG Education Fund is releasing a report containing suggestions on how Congress, state officials and consumers can safeguard personal information.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Consumer Protection

Strong Net Neutrality Rules to Protect an Open Internet Passes out of State Assembly

In our increasingly connected world, SB 822 ensures we protect a free and open internet for our future. SB 822 prohibits Internet Service Providers from interfering with consumers’ ability to access content on the Internet, including blocking, impairing or degrading certain content. SB 822 also prohibits ISPs from charging content providers in order to have their content seen by potential customers. Finally, SB 822 prohibits zero rating plans that would benefit some content over other content on the Internet.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Bill to Require Child Care Centers to Test for Lead in Drinking Water Heads to Governor’s Desk

“Day care providers work day in and day out to keep children safe, but many may be unwittingly exposing kids to lead in their tap water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “There is no safe level of lead, especially for the littlest Californians, who are the most vulnerable to any lead exposure.”

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Bill to Ban Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals in Furniture, Mattresses and Children’s Products Sent to Governor’s Desk

“Chemicals linked to cancer do not belong in our homes or around our children. These chemicals have been used in children’s products, furniture and mattresses for decades, threatening our health, when all along they never made fires safer in the first place,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “If AB 2998 becomes law, consumers can be clear that the products we buy are free from these dangerous chemicals.”

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Is E. Coli contaminated Cargill/Excel beef in your fridge?

Last Thursday, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled more than 25,000 pounds of ground beef products shipped to Colorado and California because of possible contamination with potentially deadly E. coli. Cargill is likely unfamiliar to shoppers as the beef it produces is labeled using other brands, in this case “Excel fresh meat”.

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Result | Health Care

Fighting To Make Health Care Affordable

Thanks to a new CALPIRG-backed law, insurance companies actually have to justify rate hikes to the public, bringing some much-needed accountability. Thanks in part to the new law — and public pressure, including 1,200 public comments from CALPIRG supporters — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California both backed off of double-digit rate hikes.

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Result | Budget

Keeping Public Libraries Public

To plug budget gaps, it seems that local governments will consider selling anything; some have even sold their public libraries. CALPIRG has stood up to and blocked a number of wrong-headed schemes to sell public assets to private companies — deals that all too often actually raise costs — including public libraries, state buildings and the privatization of red light camera enforcement.

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Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

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Result | Democracy

Defeating Big Oil’s Ballot Proposition

CALPIRG helped run a campaign that identified 160,000 young voters who pledged to vote No on Prop. 23, the oil industry-funded attack on California’s landmark global warming law. To combat the millions of dollars Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro poured into electioneering, our organizers mobilized young voters — the segment of the electorate most likely to vote against Prop. 23, but most are in need of a reminder to get to the polls.

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Report | CALPIRG

2017 Legislative Scorecard

When consumers are cheated, when our public health is threatened, or powerful interests have more say than ordinary people, our job is to stand up for the public interest. We’re funded by tens of thousands of supporters, from across the political spectrum, which allows us to be independent and focus on doing what’s best for the public. This scorecard grades legislators on their votes on a dozen significant legislative bills CALPIRG supported this year.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

Among the toys surveyed this year, we found potential choking hazards, and two products with concentrations of lead exceeding federal standards for children’s products. We also found data-collecting toys that may violate children’s privacy laws. This report not only lists the potentially dangerous toys that we found this year, but also describes why and how the toys could harm children.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Lead In Fidget Spinners

While lead in toys has become less prevalent in recent years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund tested several models of one of today’s hottest toys, fidget spinners, for the toxic heavy metal. Laboratory results indicated that two fidget spinners purchased at Target and distributed by Bulls i Toy, L.L.C. contained extremely high levels of lead. U.S. PIRG Education Fund calls on Target and Bulls i Toy to immediately recall these two fidget spinners and investigate how such high levels of lead were found in these toys. Also, we call on the U.S.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction III

The third annual Chain Reaction report, which grades companies on their antibiotics policies and practices, found that 14 out of the top 25 restaurants in the U.S. have taken steps to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in the production of the chicken they serve, up from nine just one year ago. While restaurant chains made great progress on chicken, the groups who authored the report found that there were no new commitments to limit antibiotic use in beef and pork.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Protecting Those Who Serve

The men and women who serve in America’s military are also active consumers in America’s financial marketplace, where tricks and traps can cause harm to their finances and their lives. An analysis of more than 44,000 complaints submitted by active duty servicemembers and military veterans to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and contained in its Consumer Complaint Database finds that mistreatment of servicemembers by financial companies is widespread.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Emily Rusch to state air quality board: Electric buses are here and ready

Cleaner, healthier buses may soon be coming to every city in California.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

California passes strongest net neutrality law in the country, sued by Justice Department hours later

The Trump administration is going to court to stop net neutrality in California.

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Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

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Blog Post

In reversal, judge rejects Monsanto's request to overturn landmark case linking man's cancer to Roundup

The high-profile legal case linking a man’s terminal cancer to Roundup has taken another twist.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Fixing your device just got easier: Right to repair movement scores major win

Repairing your electronic device just got a little easier thanks to a seemingly unexpected source: The Library of Congress.

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Blog Post

Walmart To Phase Out Paint Strippers Linked To Dozens Of Deaths

In the absence of government action on deadly paint strippers, retailers are stepping up to protect consumers.

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Blog Post

Drinking Water Shut Off In All Detroit Schools Due To Lead

As school started for the year, many students in Detroit returned to schools with drinking water containing lead—a toxin that can impact how they think, learn and behave.

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Blog Post

'This Infection is Resistant to Everything We Have'

Those are not words any patient wants to hear.

But a surgeon at The Johns Hopkins Hospital tells U.S. PIRG Education Fund that he and other doctors are being forced to deliver that message. He points to the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture as a major culprit.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

1 Year After Equifax Data Breach, Here's Everything You Need To Know

One year after announcing the biggest data breach in history, Equifax still hasn’t been held accountable or provided the information and tools consumers need to protect themselves. Since Equifax won’t help protect consumers, CALPIRG is stepping in.

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