Public Health

Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual NJPIRG survey of toy safety. In this report, NJPIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards. 

SO YOU NEED HEALTH INSURANCE. NOW WHAT?

Having the facts can make all the difference when it comes to health insurance. To make the most of new choices, protections and financial help, you need good information. This guide can help you find quality coverage that won’t break the bank.

Report | Public Health

The Danger In Our Backyards

Every day, millions of people live and work in the shadow of high risk chemical plants that store and use poisonous materials with the potential to harm millions of workers and residents.

News Release | NJPIRG Citizen Lobby | Public Health

Advocates Call On EPA for Increased Chemical Safety, Security

In light of recent toxic chemical spills and accidents, NJPIRG called on the EPA to take action to protect the public from the dangers of high-risk chemical plants. Activists gathered outside the Kuehne chemical facility to release “Danger In Our Backyards: The Threat of Chemical Facilities to Millions”, a report that highlights two New Jersey plants as posing significant threats to public safety. Over 12 million people live near a high-risk New Jersey chemical plant.

News Release | NJPIRG | Public Health, Transportation

Chemical Security Getting On the Right Track

“The President’s Executive Order is a great step forward in modernizing the security of our chemical facilities.”

News Release | NJPIRG | Public Health, Health Care

NJPIRG Urges Governor Christie to Invest in Outreach For New Healthcare Options

We are two months away from New Jersey’s health insurance exchange going live, and thousands of New Jerseyans who stand to benefit won't even know about their new, affordable options unless the Governor releases the funds for outreach and education.

News Release | NJPIRG | Budget, Public Health, Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to NJPIRG's new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013: Comparing Taxpayer Subsidies for Fresh Produce and Junk Food.”

Report | NJPIRG | Budget, Public Health, Food

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. These subsidies are all the more egregious at a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic. Children are three times more likely to be obese than their counterparts three decades ago. With over 31 percent of the adolescent population now overweight or obese, and estimates of obesity-related medical costs reaching $150 billion per year, it is absurd that the federal government continues to finance the production of sweeteners and oil additives.

The concentrated distribution of subsidypayments further demonstrates how the current system fails to appropriately direct federal dollars. The system disproportionately benefits larger commodity cropproducers, sending tax subsidies to large, already-profitable players. These subsidies also do not fund all crops equally. Apples, the only fruit or vegetable to receive significant federal subsidies, garnered only $689 million over the same period. Had these subsidies gone directly to America’s 146 million taxpayers, the apple subsidies would enable each taxpayer to buy half an apple each year—but the annual junk food subsidies would add up to nearly 20 Twinkies each.

Key findings:

 

  • Of the total $292.5 billion allotted in agriculture subsidies, 3.8 percent of farmers collected $178.5 billion, while 62 percent of farms did not receive any federal funds.
  • Taxpayers spent $84.4 billion on corn production, $8.1 billion of which funded production of corn starch and sweeteners. Of the total domestic corn produced, 9.6 percent ended up in junk food and beverages as sweeteners or thickeners.
  • Soy subsidies rank fifth on the list of subsidized crops, costing taxpayers $27.8 billion. Since 1995, soy oils have consumed approximately $11.1 billion in taxpayer subsidies.
  • With the money used to subsidize corn and soy junk food ingredients, the government could buy almost 52 billion Twinkies—enough to circle the Earth 132 times when placed end to end, or meet the caloric needs of the entire U.S. population for 12 days.

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs

New Jerseyans with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs. Brand drug manufacturers have made $98 billion in total sales off the drugs while the generic versions were delayed.

Top Twenty Pay-For-Delay Drugs

Too often, consumers are forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden, or even go without needed medicine, due to the high cost of brand-name drugs. Our research indicates that one significant cause is the practice called “pay for delay,” which inflates the drug prices paid by tens of millions of Americans. 

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