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Advocacy groups, 48,000 petitioners demand Columbia Sportswear stop using toxic PFAS chemicals in clothing

Toxic threats

Advocacy groups, 48,000 petitioners demand Columbia Sportswear stop using toxic PFAS chemicals in clothing

U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) hosted a media conference outside Columbia Sportswear’s flagship store in downtown Portland on Thursday to deliver a petition, with more than 48,000 signatures, urging the clothing manufacturer and retailer to phase out the use of PFAS chemicals in their products.

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New data: Auto insurance companies made windfall profits at consumers’ expense during pandemic

Consumer alerts

New data: Auto insurance companies made windfall profits at consumers’ expense during pandemic

Auto insurance companies’ profits soared during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many Illinoisans were driving less and “sheltering in place.” The risks associated with driving plummeted but insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk, according to new data released by the Illinois Department of Insurance Thursday. 

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Chicagoans paid 43% more for home heating this winter

Consumer alerts

Chicagoans paid 43% more for home heating this winter

goans paid 43% more to heat their homes this past winter compared to the year before, a result of surging gas prices and the expensive Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, according to a new report released on Friday. While higher gas prices played the largest role in the year-over-year spike in bills, the pipe replacement program has been slowly raising home heating bills for years. For example, over the first three months of 2022, the average Peoples Gas customer paid just under $40 for the pipe replacement program through a surcharge on bills. Over the same period in 2018, average customers paid $16 for the surcharge.

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Auto insurance industry attempts to quash disclosure of windfall profits during COVID-19 pandemic

Consumer alerts

Auto insurance industry attempts to quash disclosure of windfall profits during COVID-19 pandemic

The auto insurance industry is attempting to block the publication of data documenting its windfall profits in Illinois during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the risks associated with driving plummeted but auto insurers did not lower premiums or offer rebates in proportion to the reduction in risk. In a letter sent last week to the Illinois Department of Insurance, three auto insurance associations challenged the Department’s March  call for information documenting insurer profits, losses, and refunds given to consumers between 2019 and 2021. Consumer advocates estimate that auto insurers overcharged Illinois drivers by about $900 million in 2020.

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Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Toxic threats

Consumer advocacy groups launch campaign to get Columbia Sportswear to phase out toxic ‘forever chemicals’

  U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on outdoor gear and apparel brand Columbia Sportswear to phase out the use of PFAS in its products and supply chains. Last month, the company received low marks in a scorecard report released by the advocacy groups. The report found that Columbia Sportswear has failed to adopt policies that ban PFAS chemicals or provide up-to-date, publicly available information on any ongoing efforts to phase out these toxic chemicals from their products.

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