Reports

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Public Health

Food Recall Failure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million Americans contract a food borne illness yearly with 128,000 people hospitalized and 3,000 dead as a result of these illnesses. 

The food safety system uses two lines of defense to help prevent this threat. First a series of inspections and enforcement measures identify hazardous products before they make it to store shelves and Americans’ plates. Second, when a foodborne pathogen or other threats are still sold for consumption, the recall system attempts to remove the food from store shelves as quickly as possible and alerts consumers about the hazard. While not all illnesses are connected to a source, removing contaminated food from the market helps protect the public.

Report | OSPIRG

2020 Legislative Agenda

OSPIRG's mission is to deliver persistent, results-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, protects public health and fosters responsive, democratic government.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2019

Citizens’ ability to understand how their tax dollars are spent is fundamental to democracy. Budget and spending transparency holds government officials accountable for making smart decisions, checks corruption, and provides citizens an opportunity to affect how government dollars are spent.

State and local governments spend billions of dollars every year on economic development programs in the form of forgone tax revenue and direct cash grant payments to corporations in an effort to stoke investment and job creation in a particular city, state or industry.

A review of economic development subsidy reporting in all 50 states finds that a majority of states fail to meet minimum standards of online transparency, leaving residents, watchdogs and public officials in the dark about key public expenditures. States should shine light on economic development subsidies by requiring the online publication of key transparency reports and inclusion of economic development spending in the state’s online checkbook portal to meet the expectations of citizens seeking information in the 21st century.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips

Trouble in Toyland 2019

Millions of parents, grandparents, and caregivers are preparing to buy toys for the loved ones in their lives. Luckily, these toys are safer than ever thanks to years of progress driven by consumer non-profits, public health organizations, elected officials, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

For the last thirty-three years, our annual Trouble in Toyland has helped expose threats, including high levels of lead, “smart” toys with data security flaws, choking hazards, and more. By revealing these dangers, the report has empowered parents to take key actions to ensure toys are safe, while simultaneously pushing decision-makers to enact legislation like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to remove these threats completely. 

Despite that progress, dangerous toys continue to reach the market and injure children. In May, the Washington Attorney General announced testing, which revealed illegal levels of lead and cadmium in supplies and kids’ jewelry. There were 15,000 purchases of these products. In August, the Wall Street Journal found thousands of toys that failed to meet safety standards for choking hazards, toxics, and other threats--including two toys with illegal levels of lead.

It isn’t surprising then, that the CPSC’s most recently available data reveals 251,700 emergency room visits resulting from toys. This number doesn’t begin to account for the long term damages caused by toxins such as lead, boron, or cadmium, which researchers continue to find in toys and other products marketed to children.

Many of these injuries and hazards are avoidable through vigilance and improving the toy safety system.

But with so many toys hitting the market every year, how can people make sure their kids’ toys are safe? We’ve found dangerous toys parents can identify themselves; those that require stronger safety standards to keep kids safe; and lastly, recalled toys that are still for sale.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

The State of Recycling National Survey

Recycling challenges vary across the country, but, overall, states are failing to both reduce unnecessary waste and adjust to a changing recycling landscape, according to a new study from U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center. The State Of Recycling U.S. National Survey looks at programs in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, providing case studies and insight into specific issues that plague recycling efforts nationwide.

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