PROTECTING CONSUMER SAFETY—Toys should not be toxic or dangerous for children to play with. Our food should not make us sick. The terms for banking and credit accounts should be clear and easy to understand.
LOOKING OUT FOR CONSUMERS
TexPIRG’s consumer program works to alert the public to hidden dangers and scams and to ban anti-consumer practices and unsafe products.
TROUBLE IN TOYLAND
For 30 years, TexPIRG’s "Trouble In Toyland" report has surveyed store shelves and identified choking hazards, noise hazards and other dangers. Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years.
BIGGER BANKS, BIGGER FEES
In April, TexPIRG released a report in which we surveyed more than 350 bank branches and revealed that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. We also found that despite widespread stories about the “death” of free checking, free and low-cost checking choices are still widely available, if consumers shop around.
Contaminated food, from Tyson's chicken strips containing chunks of metal to E. coli-laden romaine lettuce, posed a serious danger to Americans’ health in 2019. TexPIRG Education Fund crunched last year’s numbers for its How Safe Is Our Food? report and found that while recalls for produce and processed food have fallen 34 percent since 2016, recalls for meat and poultry have increased slightly since then -- and are up 65 percent since 2013.
“Consumers shouldn't have to worry that their next bite might sicken or kill them, especially when food safety agencies leave so many solutions in the pantry,” said TexPIRG Director Bay Scoggin. “Our analysis suggests that when commonsense protections are implemented, our food gets safer.”
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush releases legislation to increase transparency around important product injury and death data.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that discount stores T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods sold 19 different recalled products to consumers between 2014 and 2019. In the case of five products, the stores’ parent company TJX initiated the recall. The products included the Rock ‘N Play and Kids II inclined infant sleepers, which are responsible for a number of fatalities, rattles that can break and pose a choking hazard, and electronics that overheat or explode.
More than 226,000 kids went to the emergency room in 2018, according to newly released data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission--the majority from choking hazards. TexPIRG Education Fund released its 34th-annual Trouble in Toyland report on the same day to help identify dangerous products still for sale in 2019 and provides tips for parents and gift-givers.
“Toys have become safer over the last three decades, but dangerous and toxic toys remain on store shelves. With that in mind, parents need to be vigilant to keep their kids healthy and safe,” said Lauren Banister, TexPIRG Education Fund Associate. “Manufacturers and regulators must do more to ensure all toys are hazard-free before they end up in a child’s hands.”
While stronger safety standards have significantly reduced the number of dangerous toys for sale, problems persist. TexPIRG Education Fund has identified three categories of toys that parents should be on the lookout for: detectable dangers, hidden toxics and hazards, and recalled toys.
If you had a product in your home that the government knew could cause injury or death, you'd expect the government to warn you, right? Surprisingly, that's not the case for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The "Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency Information Act" seeks to change that.
The Trump administration's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just appointed a new task force on consumer law — but according to senior director of PIRG's federal consumer program, Ed Mierzwinski, this task force isn't set up to be on the side of consumers. "It is a task farce," he said.
If you frequently use Zantac (ranitidine) or a generic version to treat heartburn, you should check if it's a Dr. Reddy’s, Perrigo or Sanofi product and immediately consult your doctor, says PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber.
Tools & Resources
Seeking Compensation for Consumers and Environment
Grading Texas' Legislators on their 2019 Votes
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