Product Reviews

Welcome to Consumer Reports.

We’re so glad to have you as a member. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.

Viewpoint: Ordinary people who made our drinks and hospitals safer

This page highlights efforts by Consumers Union and others to improve the marketplace

Published: September 2014

When Sarah Kavanagh looked closely at her Gatorade bottle and learned that the brominated vegetable oil it listed had potentially hazardous health consequences, the teen petitioned the parent company, PepsiCo, asking that it ditch the chemical. She rallied more than 200,000 people on Change.org, then put out a similar call about Powerade. For the high school senior, who plans to study communications in college, it has been a crash course in the power of social media. A PepsiCo rep told Consumer Reports: “We removed BVO from Gatorade in response to our consumers. Since, we have been actively working to remove it from the rest of our product portfolio.” (Coca-Cola, Powerade’s parent, is on a similar path.)

David Antoon’s experience at the Cleveland Clinic prompted him to raise concerns about the safety of procedures there. The retired Air Force colonel’s claims spurred a government investigation and pushed the venerable hospital to make changes.

Know a consumer hero? Fill us in on the advocacy champions you admire most. Write to us at heroeswatchdogs@cr.consumer.org.

Actions you can take in November

Photo: Paul Sahre

Tell FDA: Ban the ‘natural’ label

It sounds like a guarantee of purity, but when “natural” appears on a food product, the word is essentially meaningless. Join Consumers Union, the poilcy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, in urging the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to ban the label by signing our petition at takepart.com/food-labels.

Put a stop to ‘too big to fail’ banks

We stand with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and John McCain—and more than 160 state and national groups—in calling on Congress to stop banks from betting your insured deposits on risky Wall Street deals. The 21st Century Glass-­Steagall Act would separate ordinary banks from investment firms. Go to opencongress.org and ask your representative to join the fight.

The win: You can unlock your cell phone

The keys to your mobile phone are yours again now that Congress has passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. The bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama in August, restores your right to unlock your device and switch to another provider when your contract expires—something Consumers Union has been fighting for since early 2013, when a Library of Congress change to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act made unlocking illegal.

42%

That’s the percentage of Americans willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact—think about the Patagonias and Whole Foods of the world—according to a Nielsen survey. A related study found that ­socially conscious companies have seen annual sales rise 5 percent, compared with just 1 percent growth for those not making such claims.

Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.



E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

More From Consumer Reports

WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
The Best Matching Washers and Dryers These washer-dryer pairs cleaned up in Consumer Reports' tests.
TV REVIEWS
Best 4K TVs to Buy Right Now The top picks from the hundreds of 4K TVs we've tested.
CARS
Best New Car Deals Save money on the cars that Consumer Reports recommends.
GENERATOR REVIEWS
How to Pick the Right Size Generator for Your House Add up the items you need to power before making your choice.

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more