Public Health

Consumers still at risk for harmful over-the-counter drug products of all types because of soft federal regulations.

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New Report: Toxic waste cleanup efforts lag, putting Texans at risk

A new report finds that only 10 of the nation’s most toxic Superfund sites were cleaned up in Fiscal Year 2020 -- less than one seventh of the annual total in the 1990s. Environment Texas Research and Policy Center found that insufficient funding jeopardized the cleanup of 55 existing Superfund sites in Texas, as well as potential new sites such as the creosote plume underneath the Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens neighborhoods in Houston, where two cancer clusters have been discovered. 

“Millions of Texans live near these sites, which have chemicals either proven to cause -- or suspected of causing -- major health problems,” said Catherine Fraser, an associate with Environment Texas. “Congress’ failure to reinstate a Polluter Pays Tax to ensure cleanup at these sites is a choice to prioritize their bottom line over the lives of Americans.”

Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Superfund Unfunded

In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), informally called Superfund. The Superfund program was given the authority and funds to hold polluters responsible for cleaning up contaminated waste sites or clean up the sites themselves if no responsible party can be found or afford the cleanup. These toxic waste sites house some of the most “hazardous chemicals known to humankind.” The Superfund toxic waste program protects people from these contaminants and the serious health problems associated with them.

The program was originally funded by a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries, but that tax expired in 1995, and now the money for the Superfund program has come primarily through appropriations from the general revenue. As appropriations have decreased over the past two decades, cleanup has slowed, putting more people at risk for longer from hazardous contamination.

Nursing homes across the country still need more PPE

By | Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

It’s unconscionable that some of our most vulnerable populations and their caregivers are being put in such danger during a global pandemic. But it doesn’t have to be this way — not if our country acts right now to ramp up production and distribution of PPE to where it’s needed most.

20 Questions to Ask Your Nursing Home during COVID

By | Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

Whether you have a loved one currently in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, or whether you’re shopping for one, you should arm yourself with a list of questions to gauge how safe the environment is. Here’s a guide to those questions, and the answers you should expect.

COVID-19 and the question of priorities

By | Douglas H. Phelps
Chairman, U.S. PIRG; President and Executive Director, The Public Interest Network

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

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