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  • Public Citizen begins publication of Health Letter.
  • Public Citizen exposes EPA’s failure to accurately assess danger of toxic waste dump sites in successful campaign to strengthen Superfund cleanup laws.
  • Public Citizen reveals the locations of more than 250 work sites nationwide where workers have been exposed to hazardous chemicals.
  • Public Citizen wins Supreme Court decision expanding the rights of lawyers to advertise.
  • Public Citizen lobbying halts attack on consumer rights to hold manufacturers accountable for damage done by dangerous products.
  • Public Citizen pressure on FDA leads to recall of large-model Bjork-Shiley heart valve after valve fractures are linked to 100 deaths worldwide.


  • Public Citizen opens field office in Austin, Texas.
  • Public Citizen pressure defeats special antitrust provisions for beer distributors and preserves law prohibiting American companies from paying bribes to foreign officials to win business contracts.
  • Public Citizen publishes Retreat from Safety, a book exposing Reagan administration efforts to roll back health and safety regulations.
  • Public Citizen successfully opposes legislation easing restrictions on use of cancer-causing food additives.
  • Following AT&T’s divestiture, Public Citizen mounts nationwide “Campaign for Affordable Phones” to oppose rate hikes for residential customers.
  • Public Citizen wins court order forcing EPA to recall 700,000 GM cars with faulty emission controls.
  • FDA strengthens warning labels for anti-inflammatory drugs Butazolidin and Tandearil after Public Citizen cites serious adverse reactions.
  • Public Citizen leads successful fight against approval of hazardous injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera.


  • Public Citizen wins historic separation-of-powers case; Supreme Court strikes down legislative veto, affecting more than 200 statutes.
  • Over the Counter Pills That Don't Work is published and becomes a national best-seller.
  • Public Citizen and Ralph Nader found Buyers Up cooperative to help consumers save money on heating oil.
  • Public Citizen persuades Congress to halt funding for Clinch River breeder reactor, after President Reagan revives program.
  • Public Citizen participates in landmark Supreme Court decision overturning President Reagan's revocation of auto safety standards for automatic restraints such as air bags.
  • After intense Public Citizen lobbying, Congress refuses to overrule FTC rule requiring funeral homes to itemize lists and preventing the requirement of casket and embalming costs in cremation.
  • Public Citizen issues report identifying more than $82 billion in direct corporate subsidies included in Reagan’s federal budget proposal.


  • Public Citizen leads successful effort to block passage of regulatory rollback bill.
  • The arthritis drug Oraflex (benoxaprofen) is withdrawn from the market after Public Citizen exposes deaths and injuries caused by the drug.
  • Public Citizen persuades Congress not to exempt doctors, dentists and other professionals from Federal Trade Commission oversight.
  • After an extensive Public Citizen campaign, cancer-causing urea formaldehyde is banned in home insulation.
  • Public Citizen leads defense against congressional attacks on Freedom of Information Act.
  • Public Citizen’s lobbying efforts halt plans to extend drug manufacturers’ monopolies on their products by up to seven years.
  • A Public Citizen study of OSHA enforcement reveals a 50 percent drop in citations of serious violations under Reagan administration.
  • Public Citizen calls for Toxic Shock Syndrome warning labels on tampons (See 1989).


  • Public Citizen helps thwart President Reagan’s attempts to dismantle Clean Air Act and to diminish authority of Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Public Citizen helps block Reagan administration efforts to eliminate a low-income legal aid program and cut funding for the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Public Citizen publishes A Worker’s Guide to Winning at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and helps counter anti-regulatory efforts.
  • Public Citizen urges FDA to ban misleading advertising for popular drug Valium; company withdraws advertising.
  • Public Citizen plays a major role in canceling dairy price supports, saving consumers an estimated 8 cents per gallon of milk.
  • Public Citizen wins landmark Supreme Court ruling involving arbitration; Court says unions cannot contract away trucker drivers’ right to be compensated by employers for federally required safety inspections of big rigs.
  • Public Citizen lawsuit results in recovery of $1.5 million embezzled from a Teamsters union local in Baltimore.


  • Public Citizen publishes best-selling Pills That Don't Work, a consumer guide to ineffective drugs.
  • Public Citizen plays critical role in passage of Superfund law, which requires cleanup of toxic waste sites without limits on liability.
  • Public Citizen releases progress report on Three Mile Island reactor cleanup; documents safety mishaps at other nuclear power plants and accidents involving transportation of nuclear materials.
  • Public Citizen lawsuit forces government to keep records of closed-door proceedings of Chrysler bailout.
  • Public Citizen magazine debuts, giving members regular updates on Public Citizen issues and activities.
  • Public Citizen pressure leads to FDA recall of Rely tampons, linked to toxic shock syndrome.

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Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

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