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  • A Public Citizen petition leads the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of DBCP, a pesticide that causes sterility in men and cancer in laboratory animals.
  • Public Citizen exposes the history of safety problems at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania after the nation's worst nuclear accident there.
  • Public Citizen wins a landmark case in New York, Gordon v. Committee on Character and Fitness, which opens up competition among lawyers by striking down residency requirements that are barriers to working there.
  • Public Citizen publishes first of its kind directory called Cutting Prices: A Guide to Washington Area Surgeons’ Fees, listing fees by named surgeons for 12 common surgical procedures in Washington area.


  • Public Citizen calls for, and Congress passes, the Consumer Cooperative Bank Act, which encouraged the establishment of cooperatives by creating a bank modeled after the successful farm credit system to loan money and provide technical assistance to emerging cooperatives.
  • Public Citizen publishes first edition of "Getting Yours: A Consumer’s Guide to Obtaining Your Medical Records" to help consumers gain access to their health records.
  • Public Citizen issues a report on health and safety violations at the Central Intelligence Agency, suggesting that employees' health may be in jeopardy.


  • Public Citizen mobilizes citizens in a movement that persuades President Jimmy Carter to halt construction of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor in Tennessee.
  • FDA bans the diabetes drug Phenformin, linked to hundreds of deaths each year, after a Public Citizen petition and lawsuit.
  • Public Citizen sues FDA to ban 32 provisionally approved food, drug and cosmetic dyes, including two carcinogens, seven suspected carcinogens and two allergens.
  • Public Citizen files class action suit on behalf of 1,100 women who were given a synthetic form of estrogen called DES, which increases the risk of breast cancer, without their knowledge in the 1950s as part of a University of Chicago medical experiment. The case was not certified as a class, but the 1982 settlement was extremely favorable, including not only a payment, but also free exams and medical treatment.
  • Public Citizen launches an informational campaign against efforts to limit manufacturers' liability for consumer injuries caused by their products.


  • The FDA bans the carcinogenic food dye called Red Dye No. 2 after Public Citizen's four-year campaign.
  • Public Citizen wins landmark Va. State Board of Pharmacy v. Va. Citizens Consumer Council, a major victory for consumers. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed drugstores to advertise prices of prescription drugs.
  • A Public Citizen petition leads the FDA to ban the use of cancer-causing chloroform in cough medicines and toothpaste.
  • Public Citizen is a key advocate in passing three significant pieces of legislation: the Toxic Substances Control Act; medical device safety legislation; and antitrust reform legislation that empowered state attorneys general to enforce federal antitrust laws on behalf of citizens, thereby vastly expanding enforcement opportunities.
  • Public Citizen wins a U.S. Supreme Court case upholding airline passengers’ rights to sue for damages when bumped from flights for which they had confirmed reservations.
  • Public Citizen uncovers a secret deal between FDA and the Upjohn Company to conceal the contamination of anti-diabetes drug tolinase with cancer-causing nitrosamine.
  • Public Citizen forces the Senate Finance Committee to delete 20 special-interest tax giveaways from the 1976 Tax Reform Act.
  • Public Citizen successfully lobbies for Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Act, permitting successful civil rights litigants to recover costs from defendants judged to have violated civil rights laws; and for the Government in the Sunshine Act, requiring senior government officials to keep records and public logs; and expanded provisions inthe Freedom of Information Act.


  • Public Citizen wins Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, a U.S. Supreme Court decision subjecting lawyers to federal antitrust laws and making standard fee-setting agreements illegal.
  • Public Citizen wins Train v. Campaign Clean Water, Inc., a U.S. Supreme Court decision barring President Richard Nixon from "impounding" funds appropriated by Congress.
  • Public Citizen successfully lobbies Congress for energy conservation legislation, including the first fuel economy requirements for cars.
  • Public Citizen publishes "Through the Mental Health Maze: A Consumer’s Guide to Finding a Psychotherapist" and "Taking the Pain Out of Finding a Good Dentist."
  • A Public Citizen survey of the America's 50 largest hospitals reveals most are violating government regulations to protect Medicaid recipients during surgical sterilization.
  • Public Citizen petitions the FDA to require safety testing for the Dalkon Shield and other intrauterine contraceptive devices.
  • Public Citizen successfully lobbies to delete from the House energy bill several special interest tax provisions, including a break for wealthy utility shareholders.
  • After five filibuster votes defeated the Consumer Protection Act, Public Citizen helps persuade the Senate leadership to change the filibuster rules, cutting the number of votes needed to end debate from 67 to 60.


  • Public Citizen creates Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project to mobilize opposition to nuclear power and promote energy conservation and renewable sources.
  • Public Citizen persuades Congress to pass major improvements to the Freedom of Information Act and override President Gerald Ford's veto.
  • Public Citizen publishes a directory of doctors in Prince Georges County, Maryland - the first of its kind in the nation - and challenges laws restricting consumer access to information abotu doctors.
  • Public Citizen organizes Critical Mass ’74, the first national conference of anti-nuclear energy activists, taking its name from the industry’s own jargon.
  • Public Citizen's "report cards" play a key role in the defeat of several House committee chairmen in the first caucus election since the seniority system was abolished in 1972.
  • Public Citizen is instrumental in passing legislation giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) subpoena power and authority to order a recall of unsafe cars and to set safety standards for school buses.


  • Public Citizen publishes a paper, "An Outline for Consumer Action on Prescription and Drug Prices."
  • Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook establish Congress Watch as Public Citizen's lobbying and legislative arm.
  • Shortly after Public Citizen urges action, the FDA bans the Pertussin medicated vaporizer in the wake of the deaths of 18 children.
  • President Richard Nixon's firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox is ruled illegal in response to a Public Citizen lawsuit.


  • Ralph Nader and Alan Morrison establish the Public Citizen Litigation Group.
  • Public Citizen files lawsuit resulting in new compensation system for airline passengers on overbooked flights (see 1976 SC decision).
  • Public Citizen plays a key role in creation of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Public Citizen and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union petition the U.S. Department of Labor to set an emergency temporary standard for 10 cancer-causing chemicals. The department issued the emergency standard the following year.


  • Public Citizen is founded by Ralph Nader to provide a full-time advocacy organization for citizens and consumers.
  • Ralph Nader and Dr. Sidney Wolfe establish Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
  • Public Citizen petitions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of Red Dye No. 2 as food coloring, citing links to cancer.

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