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The TACD TTIP debate in Brussels

SG-headshot.jpgThe Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) conference is in full swing in Brussels today in a robust series of panel discussions about the compatibility of trade agreements and consumer protection. The TACD is made up of European and American consumer advocates and the group is laser-focused on the effort by the EU and the US governments to adopt Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP). 

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, taken with a grain of salt

ali.jpgEarlier this week, as I rode the metro to work, I overheard a woman describe to her friends the new “clean eating” challenge she was trying. I expect she is one of thousands across the country excitedly exchanging New Year diet strategies with other inspired colleagues and friends. In the U.S., we are bombarded with weight loss advice, especially during the holidays. Often, one diet plan contradicts the next, leaving consumers to choose one randomly and then lose momentum quickly afterwards. The Eighth Edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in the first week of January, just in time to bring some clarity to our diet woes! Unfortunately, the 2015-2020 nutrition guidelines are not exactly straightforward.

Demanding change at the Metro


Washington, DC is the capital city of the richest, most successful economy in the history of the world. So it stands to reason that Washington should therefore have a world-class subway system, right?

The Affordable Care Act is not harming the job market

karinb.jpgDespite dire predictions to the contrary by Obamacare opponents, three recent studies have found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hasn’t hurt the labor market. Critics claimed massive numbers of workers would be moved from full-time to part-time jobs to avoid the cost of the employer mandate on health insurance. Critics also warned that people might choose to work less because they could either get health insurance on the exchanges or qualify under expanded Medicaid coverage.  

Top 10 child labor stories of 2015

sg.jpgThis post appeared on the Huffington Post on January 6, 2016

There were plenty of ups and downs in the fight against child labor this year. With an estimated 168 million children still trapped in exploitative labor, including 85 million doing hazardous work, we have an ambitious agenda ahead of us in 2016. Here are 10 highs and lows from 2015...

Hotels increasingly sharing airlines’ fee addiction

breyault.jpgAsk practically any flier what their biggest gripes are with airlines and the word “fees” will almost certainly come up. From $25 baggage fees, to $200 change fees, to $50 standby fees and more, fees are big business for the U.S. airlines -- bringing in a reported $38 billion (with a “b”) in revenue in 2014 alone. Here at NCL, we’ve voiced plenty of gripes about the fee-based profit model at U.S. airlines, but so far little has changed to break the big U.S. airlines of their addiction to fees.

Support LifeSmarts on #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1

hertzberg-1.jpgThis post originally appeared on LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. Written by Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director.

I could not be more proud of NCL’s LifeSmarts program and the difference it makes for high school students. We educate the next generation of students about their worker and consumer rights, helping them learn about important real-world topics such as saving for their futures, nutrition, digital security and privacy, and much more. LifeSmarts is so successful because it provides teens with the skills and knowledge they need to evaluate risks and opportunities in order to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. It pushes students to use critical thinking skills and prepares them to apply these skills to the real world.

Consumers International’s World Congress 2015: Unlocking Consumer Power

sg.jpgEvery four years, Consumers International organizes a World Congress event, which convenes 240 consumer groups to meet in an appointed country where it has organizational members. I am fortunate enough to be attending this year’s World Congress in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.

New app seeks to raise awareness of the worst forms of child labor and forced labor

maki.jpgThis post originally appeared on The Child Labor Coalition is a program of the National Consumers League. Written by Deborah Andrews, CLC Contributing Writer and Reid Maki, CLC Coordinator.

The US Department of Labor recently released an exciting new tool to help consumers figure out if the products they purchase are made with child labor or forced labor.  The sheer size of the 2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor produced by the Bureau of International Affairs (ILAB) highlights the reality of this problem – the hard copy version of the report is over 1,000 pages long and weighs in at over eight pounds.

Who decides how much your donor eggs are worth?

sg.jpgAwhile back I blogged about new moms selling breast milk to make a little money while they are nursing their newborns. Breast milk is full of nutrients and has anti-allergy properties that make it very beneficial for newborns. But because not all new mothers can or want to nurse their babies, there’s a demand for this nutrient-dense food. Nursing is also good for moms and is linked to lower incidents of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Sounds like a win-win, so why shouldn’t women be able to sell their milk then? 

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