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illustration of test dummy on green background Illustration: John Ritter

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Making Cars Safer for All

Women have far greater odds than men of being seriously injured in a car crash, even when everyone is wearing a seat belt. One reason, many experts believe, is the lack of crash-test dummies made to represent female bodies—resulting in safety designs and systems that tend to be better suited to protecting the average (5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound) male body in the 1970s. So CR is now urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require the use of female crash-test dummies in safety testing.

This effort is one part of a broader CR campaign to encourage NHTSA to thoroughly update its New Car Assessment Program. For decades, the NCAP has given consumers the safety data they need to make smart buying decisions, and created incentives for automakers to equip more vehicles with the latest life-saving technologies.

But the program has fallen behind the times: Almost all vehicles now receive four- or five-star safety ratings, making it hard for consumers to differentiate the safest cars from the rest, and limiting the need for automakers to compete to make their cars safer.

Join us in calling on NHTSA to develop a new “female” crash-test dummy—and, more broadly, protocols that are up to date and make everyone safer—by signing CR’s petition, No Brainer: Use female crash-test dummies! Meanwhile, you can learn more about how to protect yourself and your family while driving, at CR’s Car Safety Guide.

CR: Action Update

In June, New York governor Kathy Hochul signed a CR-backed bill requiring companies that sell tickets to concert, sporting, and other events to disclose all fees and service charges up front. Such fees, often disclosed late in the purchase process, typically increase the price of a ticket by 20 to 30 percent. The law—the first of its kind in the nation—also requires resale tickets to be clearly labeled as such, along with the original price. And it strengthens penalties for using “bot” software to purchase tickets in bulk at lightning speeds and then reselling them at inflated prices.

Keeping PFAS Out of Water

What’s at stake: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are almost everywhere in the consumer landscape. Known as “forever chemicals” because they’re slow to break down, PFAS are found in carpets, outdoor gear, and water- and grease-proof products like food packaging and nonstick cookware. Their manufacture and disposal contaminates soil, air, and water. Worse, PFAS exposure is linked to a growing list of health problems, including immune system suppression and a higher risk of some cancers.

How CR has your back: Recent CR investigations (some with the Guardian US news organization) have exposed widespread PFAS contamination of U.S. drinking water and the presence of PFAS in the packaging of many U.S. food chains and grocery stores. And we’ve been pressuring policymakers to protect consumers from these and other PFAS sources.

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency issued strict new health advisories for drinking water, dramatically reducing the level that it considers “safe” for certain PFAS. Though the agency addressed only four of thousands of known PFAS, CR advocates consider this an important first step.

What you can do: Read CR’s advice on “How to Avoid PFAS” and sign our petition, Congress: Ban PFAS in Food Wrappers. And tell your senator to support legislation—already backed by the House and the White House—setting a federal drinking water standard and to get ‘forever chemicals’ out of our water.

Consumer Reports

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