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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams! | Rishi Shah

Over the last few weeks, there’s been drastic changes to most of our lives. One thing that’s still (unfortunately) around? Phishing emails and scams. Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a new wave of coronavirus-related tricks to cheat people out of their money and personal information.
 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Consumer complaints of COVID-19 fraud surpass 15,000

Scammers and other bad actors are trying to take advantage of Americans’ heightened fears around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and fraud complaints are soaring. Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the virus surpassed 15,000 Thursday.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

COVID-19 consumer tips: Scams, utility bills and your stimulus check

Baltimore -- In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Maryland consumers are experiencing numerous public health and financial challenges, including virus-related scams, fake products promising cures and price gouging. To help address these concerns and more, Maryland PIRG Foundation is publishing new guides and tips each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Masks4All - I followed the CDC's advice to make my own mask | Rishi Shah

A few days ago, the CDC released instructions for how to make your own facemasks to protect yourself and others during the COVID-19 crisis. With the extremely high prices of surgical masks due to price gouging in online marketplaces, purchasing a mask may not be an affordable option for all households. (Side note: if you’re worried about price gouging, check out some of our tips on how to avoid it and report it.)

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Maryland legislators demand Amazon, other online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Together, 347 legislators representing 45 states joined Maryland PIRG Foundation in sending a letter Tuesday urging Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general, including Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, sent a similar letter to the same companies.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Frontier Group | Tax

Report: Maryland gets an “F” for economic development transparency

Maryland received an “F” grade because the state does not have comprehensive tax expenditure and grants reports available online, nor state laws requiring ongoing reporting of information on economic development subsidies to the public. In addition, Maryland’s online portal for tax spending does not include tools to decipher which payments are grants versus other forms of spending.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Deadly infant products sold after recalls at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that discount stores T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods sold 19 different recalled products to consumers between 2014 and 2019. In the case of five products, the stores’ parent company TJX initiated the recall. The products included the Rock ‘N Play and Kids II inclined infant sleepers, which are responsible for a number of fatalities, rattles that can break and pose a choking hazard, and electronics that overheat or explode.

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

New study outlines issues, case studies and remedies for U.S. recycling across the country

Recycling challenges vary across the country, but, overall, states are failing to both reduce unnecessary waste and adjust to a changing recycling landscape, according to a new study from U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

CDC estimates at least 35,000 die from drug-resistant infections annually

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

EQUIFAX BREACH: ONE YEAR LATER

One year after publicly announcing the worst data breach in history, Equifax still hasn’t paid a price or provided the information and tools consumers need to adequately protect themselves.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide

With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Trouble in the Air

People across America regularly breathe unhealthy air that increases their risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

Highway Boondoggle 4

America's infrastructure is in rough shape. Many of our roads, bridges, and transit systems are aging and in need of repair. Yet, year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars' worth of new and expanded highways that do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from repairs and 21st century priorities. This report profiles nine highway projects that epitomize the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Transportation

Electric Buses

Buses play a key role in in our nation’s transportation system, carrying millions of children daily to and from school and moving millions of Americans each day around our cities. Buses reduce the number of individual cars on our roads, make our communities more livable and sustainable, and provide transportation options for people of all ages and abilities.

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Blog Post | Public Health

During This Intense Hurricane Season: Some Reports and Information On Storms, Chemicals and Public Safety | Kara Cook-Schultz

Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster, and a devastating one at that. During and after the hurricane, we learned anew that it’s not only the initial storm that threatens life and limb, but also chemical facilities that are hit.  As Irma bears down on Florida, we hope for the best outcome for the people of Florida. We also want the state to prepare for the worst. In that spirit, here are some resources and information on storms, chemicals and public safety.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Victory! P&G commits to disclose fragrance ingredients | Emily Scarr

Today we won our campaign of over a year to convince P&G to increase disclosure of ingredients in "fragrance."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. PIRG EDUCATION FUND FILES AMICUS BRIEF IN THE U.S. SUPREME COURT SUPPORTING STATES IN ANTITRUST LITIGATION AGAINST AMERICAN EXPRESS | Emily Scarr

Last month, the states of Ohio, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit judgment that allows American Express to prohibit merchants from encouraging customers to use lower-priced payment options. 

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

EPA’s Pruitt Met with Dow Prior to Favorable RulingDev GowdaKara Cook-Schultz

On March 31st, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that his agency would deny a petition to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos from being sprayed on food. He announced this decision despite EPA scientists’ earlier findings that concluded that chlorpyrifos, which is manufactured by Dow Chemical, can harm brain development of fetuses and infants after ingesting even small amounts. The news that the EPA would continue to allow the spraying of chlorpyrifos alarmed doctors and other public health officials, but what’s even more interesting is that according to several recent Freedom of Information Act requests, Pruitt met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris at a Houston hotel just twenty days prior to making his controversial decision.

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Blog Post | Food

Shrinking the Dead Zone, Reducing Fertilizer Use | Bill Wenzel

Last week, scientists predicted that this year’s hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be the 3rd largest since monitoring began 32 years ago. The “dead zone” will cover about 8,185 square miles — an area roughly the size of New Jersey.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation, Mind the Store, Toxic-Free Future

Packaged in Pollution: Are food chains using PFAS in packaging?, analyzes packaging from six national food chains, including Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s as well as health-minded food chains Cava, Freshii, and Sweetgreen, and includes packaging collected in Maryland. 

Blog Post

U.S. PIRG is calling on municipal, state and federal policymakers to mandate face masks in all indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor locations where it’s hard for people to socially distance six feet apart.

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and U.S. PIRG Education Fund

COVID-19 is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the work of hospital biomedical repair technicians, known as biomeds or BMETs. These technicians are essential; hospitals need working equipment to diagnose and treat patients. But in some cases, manufacturers restrict access to what biomeds need.

News Release | Maryland PIRG

Baltimore -- With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise nationally,  Maryland PIRG released a new fact sheet today, showing Maryland is “making progress” when it comes to meeting COVID-19 containment criteria. This is the second week Maryland PIRG has reporter n in-state coronavirus efforts. Last week, Maryland received a “trending better” grade. 

Blog Post

Public health experts are starting to draw actionable lessons about the nature of how COVID-19 spreads. In addition to maintaining best practices –physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing – it’s best to avoid extended, crowded indoor gatherings.

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