Consumer Protection

Is our food safe? What about the drugs we take? The cars we drive and the products we buy? Are the banks, credit card companies and lenders dealing fairly with us? In each case, federal agencies are charged with making sure the answer is “yes.” But examples of unsafe products and unfair practices abound in the marketplace.

For years, General Motors hid from regulators evidence that an ignition switch the company used in its Cobalts, Opels, Pontiacs, and Saturns had such a hair trigger that a light brush by the driver’s hand or knee would shut down the engine, disabling air bags and power steering. The resulting loss of control caused at least 13 fatal accidents. GM's ability to avoid detection for so many years says as much about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's weak enforcement record as anything.

Other examples abound. From tainted peanut butter to toxic drywall, to lead-laden imported toys, such instances of unsafe food, drugs, automobiles and products are all too dangerous evidence of a failed system of regulation and enforcement. Often the failure is the result of neglect – a lack of political will to spend the money required to conduct meaningful research and enforcement. Sometimes the cause is ideological: a conviction that safeguards interfere unduly with industry profits. Either way, the result is that industry is spared the costs of being accountable for unsafe production practices, shifting those costs instead to consumers in the form of injuries, illness and worse.

Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say about it in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Safeguard lawsuits that potentially save lives

Safeguard lawsuits that potentially save lives

Type: Op-Eds (May 9, 2009)
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Author(s): Thomas McGarity
Editorial Memorandum on FDA and Preemption of State Tort Laws: Wyeth vs. Levine

Editorial Memorandum on FDA and Preemption of State Tort Laws: Wyeth vs. Levine, by Thomas McGarity

Type: Editorial Memos (May 6, 2009)
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Editorial memorandum on federally sanctioned false labeling of meat raised on chemicals and pesticides
Editorial memorandum on federally sanctioned false labeling of meat raised on chemicals and pesticides
Type: Editorial Memos (May 6, 2009)
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Editorial Memorandum on the Supreme Court Ruling Against Preemption in Wyeth vs. Levine
Editorial Memorandum on the Supreme Court Ruling Against Preemption in Wyeth vs. Levine, by Thomas McGarity and Nina Mendelson
Type: Editorial Memos (May 6, 2009)
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A Rare Win for Consumers

A Rare Win for Consumers, op-ed by Thomas McGarity

Type: Op-Eds (March 6, 2009)
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Author(s): Thomas McGarity
Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days

Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days, By CPR Member Scholars Rebecca M. Bratspies, David M. Driesen, Robert L. Fischman, Sheila Foster, Eileen Gauna, Robert L. Glicksman, Alexandra B. Klass, Catherine A. O’Neill, Sidney Shapiro, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Robert R.M. Verchick, and Wendy Wagner, and CPR Policy Analyst James Goodwin

Type: Reports (Nov. 13, 2008)
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The Truth About Torts: Regulatory Preemption at the Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Truth About Torts: Regulatory Preemption at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPR White Paper 807.

Type: Reports (Nov. 5, 2008)
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Author(s): Bill Funk, Thomas McGarity, Nina Mendelson, Sidney Shapiro, David Vladeck, Matt Shudtz
Beware Dangers of Roof Crush Rule

Beware Dangers of Roof Crush Rule, op-ed by Nina Mendelson, William Funk, and Sidney Shapiro

Type: Op-Eds (Aug. 4, 2008)
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Author(s): Nina Mendelson, Bill Funk, Sidney Shapiro

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