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Court case puts air ambulance memberships in spotlight. What does this mean for consumers? | William McGovern

Air ambulance bills can run in the thousands of dollars. Some companies sell "memberships" to consumers. But this option may not be a smart purchase for most consumers. 

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News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New report: COVID-19 cases in nursing homes drop by 80 percent after mass vaccinations

Despite a sharp overall drop in coronavirus infections in nursing homes in recent months, hundreds of U.S. nursing homes that weathered 2020 without any COVID-19 cases have reported new cases since 2021 began. This happened even though the elderly were among the first to get COVID-19 vaccines during the initial rollout in mid-December, fueling an 83 percent drop in new cases in nursing homes nationwide by early February. In Texas, new cases dropped by 80.5 percent.

These surprising revelations are among the findings of the third in a series of reports by U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, based on analyzing government data about nursing homes and COVID-19.

Over the course of the pandemic, the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes have been COVID-19 bellwethers. These new cases are a clear indication that while things are getting better, our society still faces risks from the virus. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this month issued new guidance, relaxing visitation restrictions.

“With nearly 550,000 Americans dead by now, you would think we would have learned our lesson,” said Bay Scoggin, state director of TexPIRG Education Fund. “It seems, unfortunately, that carelessness and impatience could needlessly put lives and communities at risk -- again.”

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Shopping for safe cosmetics shouldn’t be hard. That’s why we’re partnering with Clearya. | Gina Werdel

A free Chrome extension and mobile app created by a passionate couple helps customers easily find non-toxic consumer products as they shop online.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

With $1,400 payments on the way, here's what to do, and not do | Teresa Murray

85 percent of Americans are expected to get money -- without the need for you do anything, including clicking any email links, providing any information by phone or paying any fees.

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News Release | U.S.PIRG Education Fund

New report: Society undervalues family caregivers’ vital, increasingly important role

People caring for their aging parents, their loved ones with disabilities, or their children are doing some of the most important work there is. And yet many public policies undervalue the worth of caring for a loved one. As the largest population cohort in U.S. history -- the Baby Boomers -- ages, with a longer expected lifespan than ever, the need for caregivers will grow. Vital and Undervalued, a new report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund, shows how many people are either providing care for or receiving care from a loved one.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care

NURSING HOMES STILL DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MASKS, GOWNS, OTHER PPE

A new analysis by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group found that 8 percent of nursing homes nationwide as of Dec. 27 had a critical shortage of surgical-grade N95 masks, which are the best protection against spreading the virus. Additionally, 4 to 6 percent of nursing homes reported shortages in at least one other category of personal protective equipment.

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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.”

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

U.S. PIRG Education Fund urges the public to hold Coca-Cola accountable on its pledge to reduce plastic use

The Coca-Cola Company, a top plastic polluter according to a 2020 Brand Audit from the nonprofit Break Free From Plastic, announced a new commitment today to start using plastic bottles made with 100 percent recycled plastic for select brands in some U.S. states. According to the company, it would account for a nearly 20 percent reduction of new plastic used in North America compared to 2018. The commitment follows similar ones made by other major consumer goods companies, recently documented by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

Statement: Toxic metals found in baby food

A report released Thursday by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee said four of the seven largest baby food manufacturers have sold baby food with “significant levels of toxic heavy metals” dating back to at least late 2019.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Report: Nursing homes cope with huge staff shortages

At any given time throughout most of 2020, more than 200,000 Americans resided in nursing homes that admit they were suffering through staff shortages.

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Report | COVID-19

NURSING HOME SAFETY DURING COVID: PPE SHORTAGES

Thousands of nursing homes nationwide are dealing with horrific shortages of masks, gowns and other items they need to protect residents, workers and the broader community from COVID-19. And seven months into this pandemic, the shortages have actually become much worse.

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Report | COVID-19

Hospital Repair Restrictions

Our report on how manufacturers restrict repair for devices in hospitals, and how that impacts patient care. The report includes a survey of 222 medical device repair professionals, which highlights how widespread these issues are in hospitals, even during the pandemic. 

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Safe, Healthy Elections During COVID-19

TexPIRG Education Fund surveyed 24 county clerks and election administrators to understand how they are preparing for the primary runoff election during COVID-19

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Putting Consumers First

U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action have released a report recommending that  CFPB should use the full extent of its authority to take immediate action to strengthen its consumer complaint tool, hold companies accountable for providing complete and timely responses to consumers, and leverage consumer complaints related to the pandemic to support oversight and regulatory action to protect consumers.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Higher Ed

Automatic textbooks billing: an offer students can't refuse?

New report says deals with publishers could make college textbooks more expensive

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

With $1,400 payments on the way, here's what to do, and not do | Teresa Murray

85 percent of Americans are expected to get money -- without the need for you do anything, including clicking any email links, providing any information by phone or paying any fees.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Credit freeze -- A free and fast way to help safeguard your finances | Grace Brombach

My first-hand, step-by-step guide to freezing your credit reports.

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Blog Post

Mounting evidence: Asbestos in talc-based makeup (again) | Gina Werdel

Once again, product testing demonstrates that the risk of asbestos contamination in talc-based cosmetic products is simply too high to accept.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Elizabeth L. Cline: we need policy to stop new clothes from making a ‘straight line’ to the landfill | Olivia Sullivan

We hear from the author and journalist on secondhand clothing, the fashion industry’s addiction to cheap fossil fuels and how to break the waste cycle.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Jessica Schreiber: ‘It’s just too easy and convenient to throw things away’ | Olivia Sullivan

We need to make it easier for clothing companies to reuse and recycle. Policy, data collection and nonprofits can help.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

A month after announcing a weak plan to reduce heavy metals in baby food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new plan Thursday aimed at making baby food safer over the next several years.

Blog Post

This blog is the second in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers recycled content requirements.

Blog Post

We spoke to Je’May Ward, a clean beauty blogger from North Carolina, about what clean beauty advocacy means for her.

Blog Post

This blog is the first in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers single-use plastic product bans.

Blog Post

Air ambulance bills can run in the thousands of dollars. Some companies sell "memberships" to consumers. But this option may not be a smart purchase for most consumers. 

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