Ty Acierto Photography


It’s It's crucial for public health that we keep our lifesaving antibiotics effective by curbing their overuse on factory farms. We all need to be assured that the world's financial institutions, with their seemingly endless power in the age of digital information, will be held to account for their actions if they try to put profitability ahead of fair practices. We need to improve our transportation systems so that they make sense, economically and environmentally for the 21st century. These are problems that don’t respect many of the lines that currently divide our society. But more importantly, they’re problems we can solve, especially in an age of advancing technology and growing abundance. That's why our staff works to harness the research, political support and grassroots energy we need to win.


Most of the country’s antibiotics are being used on farm animals, and are routinely given to animals that aren’t even sick. This misuse of lifesaving medicines has become common practice on factory farms to keep costs down, but it also increases the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant infections are a leading cause of death in the U.S., killing tens of thousands of people each year, and some public health officials are even saying infections like these could be our next pandemic. PIRG is working to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. In 2018, we secured a commitment from McDonald’s to reduce medically important antibiotic use in its beef supply. Wendy’s followed suit in 2021. Now we’re working to make sure these companies keep to their commitments, while also calling on more of the country’s biggest restaurants to stop purchasing meat from animals that are routinely given antibiotics, and advocating new policies that will prevent this misuse on factory farms.


Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — foam cups, takeout containers, plastic bags, straws, drink bottles and more. These things were made to be used for a few moments, but end up polluting the planet and threatening our health for hundreds of years. It’s time to move beyond plastic, starting with banning the single-use plastic items we can easily live without.


Too many companies needlessly endanger consumers with unsafe products, toxic ingredients or deceptive financial practices. Consumers shouldn’t have to worry that a product they bought or a financial service they used could put them at risk. Our consumer watchdog team investigates threats in the marketplace, alerts people about what to watch out for, gives them the resources they need to protect themselves, and advocates for stronger federal and state protections. For example, when PIRG’s Consumer Watchdogs discovered asbestos in kids’ makeup made by Claire’s, we alerted parents in the media and urged the manufacturer to recall the products. A year later, after the FDA confirmed our findings, Claire’s agreed to pull the products off store shelves.


Mounting scientific evidence shows that the combination of chemicals in Monsanto’s Roundup can cause cancer and other serious health problems. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency even classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, as a probable human carcinogen. But Monsanto and others have done everything they can to discourage decision-makers from doing a full and honest assessment of the risks of Roundup, even “ghostwriting” studies affirming Roundup’s safety. Now, we’re calling on cities and states across the country to ban Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers unless and until they’re proven safe.


Motor vehicle crashes still kill an estimated 40,000 Americans every year, transportation is now the country’s No. 1 source of climate-changing pollution, and tailpipe exhaust continues to worsen our air quality, harming our health. If we want to tackle the climate crisis, we need to transform transportation in America by reducing the need to drive and phasing out vehicles that run on fossil fuels. That’s why we’re calling on our country’s leaders to set goals to electrify all new cars by 2035, all buses by 2030, and to double the number of people who travel on foot, by bike or take public transit. We’re working to secure funding to improve and expand public transportation and electric vehicle infrastructure; to transition our nation’s school bus fleets from diesel to electric models; and to help more states promote the switch to electric vehicles by joining California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Program.


We generate way too much waste, and companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. That adds costs to consumers and increases the amount going to landfills — not to mention the fact that toxic electronic waste has become the world's fastest-growing stream of municipal solid waste. Through our Right To Repair campaign, we’re working to give every consumer and every small business access to the parts, tools, service information and diagnostic software they need to repair products so that we can keep things in use and reduce waste.

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