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Founding Consumers Reports
Striking workers formed Consumers Union, now known as Consumer Reports. CR was created as an independent, nonprofit organization, using testing, reporting, and advocacy to counter marketplace misinformation and advance consumer protections.
Guiding Consumers in Wartime
When the U.S. went to war in 1941, manufacturers focused on war production. Many consumers had to ration to make ends meet. To help people make smart decisions with limited funds, CR published a weekly newsletter, “Bread & Butter.”
Exposing Nuclear Fallout in Food
CR launched the first large-scale investigation of consumer exposure to fallout from nuclear weapons testing in food, analyzing the amount of Strontium-90 in milk. As a result, the federal government expanded its monitoring of nuclear fallout.
Surgeon General’s Landmark Report on Smoking
For a decade, CR conducted independent testing and research to highlight the dangers of cigarettes. The Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health used CR’s work to draft its landmark report.
U.S. Government Mandates Seat Belts
CR’s tests showed two-thirds of seat belts failed basic safety and durability tests, leading CR to call for better belts and for federal standards that incorporated crash testing. The government later mandated them.
Fighting for Safer Drinking Water
CR published a landmark three-part series on the safety of the United States water supply, which played a key role in encouraging Congress to pass the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Setting New Standards for Child Safety Seats
When CR first crash-tested car seats, 12 out of 15 were rated Not Acceptable. After CR published its findings, the government required manufacturers to certify that their seats would pass a similar test.
Exposing the Dangers of Pesticides
In a study of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, CR found pesticide levels in some fruits and vegetables were too high. Shortly after, one of the pesticides was banned for use on food crops commonly consumed by children.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Created
CR helped to mobilize support in Congress to create the CFPB, an independent agency responsible for overseeing the financial industry with powers to police abusive practices and to enact new consumer protections.
Bisphenol-A Banned in Baby Products
CR was one of the first groups to test food packaging for BPA. After working to pass bans in several states, the FDA finally announced a federal ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups (2012) and infant formula packaging (2013).
A Win on Backup Cameras
After years of CR’s advocating for standards to address the problem of blind zones behind cars and trucks, the Department of Transportation finally required backup cameras in all vehicles less than 10,000 pounds by 2018.
Advancing Laws to Protect Consumer Privacy
The California Consumer Privacy Act provided key individual privacy rights, such as the right to stop the sale of personal info. CR fought efforts to weaken the legislation, mobilizing CR members to call on legislators to enact privacy protections.
Advancing and Protecting Digital Consumer Rights
CR launched the Digital Lab—a bold initiative to advance and protect consumer rights in the digital era by focusing on testing connected products and platforms for hackability, digital privacy, and how responsibly our data is handled.
Fighting Hidden Cable Fees
CR testified before Congress about cable TV fees, following years of advocacy and research. Thousands of CR members contacted lawmakers, and Congress passed a law requiring providers to disclose the total price of service before a consumer signs up.
Protecting Kids & Infants From Dangerous Products
CR’s investigation into the safety of infant inclined sleepers linked to dozens of deaths led to the recall of over 5 million sleepers. Following CR’s outreach, several retailers and online marketplaces said they would stop selling the sleepers.
Navigating the Pandemic
Millions turned to CR for free articles about staying safe and avoiding misinformation as COVID-19 spread. CR advocated for relief measures in Congress to help people stay in their homes, stay online, and avoid surprise medical bills.
Helping Student Borrowers, Stopping Scams
California approved a landmark law championed by CR to provide student loan borrowers the nation’s strongest protections against loan-servicing abuses. The state also created a watchdog to crack down on financial fraud and predatory lending.
Raising Standards for Infant Safety
CR helped pass a landmark national rule to establish strong minimum safety standards for infant sleep products for the very first time.
Making the Green Choice
CR launched the Green Choice rating to help people identify the most environmentally friendly cars, washers, and other products. CR also helped get new greenhouse gas rules for vehicles to reduce emissions and help consumers save money on fuel.
Stopping Surprise Medical Bills
A federal law championed by CR prohibits many of the worst medical billing practices that have left patients with huge surprise bills for years.