What we learned in 2019

By Faye Park
President, U.S. PIRG; Executive Vice President, The Public Interest Network

Our work standing up for consumers always starts with research. We examine problems and evaluate policies through hard-hitting reports, then use those reports to earn media coverage and build support for meaningful solutions.

In 2019, U.S. PIRG Education Fund partnered with Frontier Group to author and release reports on dangerous products, our changing transportation system, plastic pollution, and more.

Ten things we learned in 2019: 

  1. McDonald’s made the most progress of any restaurant chain reducing antibiotic use in their beef supply. Wendy’s and many others lag behind. - Chain Reaction V

  2. Recycling is in trouble (in some places). - State of Recycling National Survey

  3. Coloradans (and we suspect others too) are eager to fix their own stuff—especially their cell phones. - What are Coloradans fixing?

  4. AutoNation, which bills itself as “America’s Largest Auto Retailer,” is selling recalled, used vehicles that contain dangerous safety defects. - Unsafe Used Cars for Sale

  5. Automobile debt has gone up 75 percent since 2009. - Driving Into Debt 

  6. States continue to spend billions of dollars on new or expanded highways that create more problems than they solve. The good news: some states put their plans in reverse after we called attention to these boondoggles. - Highway Boondoggles 5

  7. Cleaner public transportation is ready to roll. - Electric Buses in America

  8. Glyphosate, a probable carcinogen and the main active ingredient in RoundUp, was found in 19 out of 20 beers and wines tested. - Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine

  9. Balloons remain the number one choking hazard for kids, but parents should also watch out for strong magnets, toxic slime, and other dangerous or recalled toys. - Trouble in Toyland

  10. A third of states are failing to meet even the most basic standards of spending transparency when it comes to economic development subsidies given to corporations like Amazon. - Following the Money

In 2020, look for a new report on how to reduce carbon pollution from transportation, timely information on food safety and other consumer threats, and an updated analysis of trash in America.

You can also read about our sister organization U.S. PIRG’s work turning this research into policy here.

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U.S. PIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.