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Group tests 200 top toys, says dozen could be dangerous

A Dora the Explorer guitar, dragster cars with small wheels and finger-fidget desktop magnets are among the toys consumer advocates are warning about as the holiday buying season begins.

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Trouble in Toyland

We are about a month away from Christmas and before you hit those stores to find toys for the little ones there are a few tips you should take with you.

"The holiday season is an especially good time to remember some safety tips," said Anne Garinger of Safe Kids of Greater Des Moines.

The Iowa chapter of The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) spends months scouring the store shelves for toys that can pose a risk to children. This year their list, unfortunately continues to grow. One of the common violations: lead in toys.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. In this report, Iowa PIRG 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. 

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News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to Iowa Public Interest Research Group’s 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Big Banks Still Hiding Big Fees

A survey of hundreds of banks and credit unions in Iowa and 23 other states found that free checking remains available at more than 6 out of 10 small banks and credit unions but was only found at one-quarter of surveyed big banks (those with over $10 billion in deposits). The survey released today by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group also revealed that fewer than half of branches surveyed obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers on the first request, while 12% provided no fee information at all. 

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Budget, Food

Taxpayer Subsidies Prop Up Junk Food Industry with Billions

Amid debates over wasteful agricultural subsidy handouts to the top 10% of wealthiest farmers, federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup by the billions according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG). Meanwhile, farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables barely get a bite at the apple.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Budget, Consumer Protection, Food, Higher Ed, Tax, Transportation

Unlikely Allies Uncover $1 Trillion in Savings for Super Committee

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum

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News Release | Consumer Protection, Tax

Senator Carl Levin Introductes Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act

Statement of Iowa PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.

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Media Hit | Safe Energy

Consumer activist, utility executives square off on Iowa nuclear plant bill

Consumer advocates and other activists squared off against electric utility executives and labor leaders today as an Iowa Senate subcommittee considered a bill that could pave the way for construction of a new nuclear power  plant by MidAmerican Energy.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Democracy, Tax

Iowa Earns "F" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Iowa got an “F” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the second annual report of its kind by the Iowa Public Interest Research Group (Iowa PIRG).

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Making the Grade: A Scorecard for State Health Insurance Exchanges

When it comes to health care, there are few magic-bullet solutions for the many problems consumers face in the marketplace: insurers don’t compete for their business, leading to higher prices and lower quality. Important information about coverage is buried in the fine print, making it hard to know what’s really covered or which plan is right. And costs are continuing their unsustainable rise.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Consumer Protection, Food, Tax

Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food

The rise in childhood obesity has many causes, but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily sweetened junk food.  And shockingly, American taxpayers are spending billions to subsidize junk food ingredients, making the problem worse.

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Report | Iowa PIRG | Budget, Consumer Protection, Tax

Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation's fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and U.S. PIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction. This report documents our findings.

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Report | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Ten Reasons Why We Need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now

This report outlines predatory financial practices that hurt consumers and helped collapse the economy, costing us eight million jobs, millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars in lost home and retirement values. It explains these and other emerging problems as “10 Reasons We Need The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now.”

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

One of the most important elements in last year’s health care reform law is the creation of new state-based health insurance marketplaces called exchanges.  If states create a strong exchange, consumers will reap the benefits as insurers compete for their business, lowering costs and improving quality.

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