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Health, Safety, and the Environment

For more than 30 years, Public Citizen has worked to ensure that federal laws enacted to protect the public health and safety are implemented in compliance with the law, in a non-arbitrary manner, and on a timely basis. Litigation brought under the Administrative Procedure Act complements the research and advocacy of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and Congress Watch in the areas of drugs and medical device safety, worker health, auto safety, and consumer product safety. Read more about our efforts to use litigation to advance strong health and safety regulation in these areas.

Foods, Drugs, Medical Devices, and Dietary Supplements

Public Citizen Litigation Group, often working with the experts in our Health Research Group, brings cases against the Food and Drug Administration to further transparency, ensure compliance with statutory requirements, and compel action on safety matters too long delayed. We also file amicus briefs in support of the FDA or local governments facing challenges to appropriate regulation. Read about some of our more recent cases below.

In addition, we use our expertise in food and drug law to fight against company’s efforts to use federal regulation as a shield to block injured patients’ product liability suits and consumers’ deceptive labeling and advertising suits. Read more about those cases here.

Read our educational materials about drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements.


Our cases involving tobacco issues combine our interest in health with our interest in preserving consumers access to courts. We have filed briefs to support FDA regulation of tobacco companies and state efforts to limit tobacco advertising. Through amicus briefs on behalf of Public Citizen and numerous other public health organizations, we have supported efforts by the federal government and by individual consumers to hold cigarette companies accountable for the deaths and illnesses their products cause.  Read more about those cases here.

Hazardous Substances and Environmental Protection

The Litigation Group uses its administrative law expertise to help maintain a healthy environment, both inside and outside.  To that end we have litigated many cases concerning exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace and in consumer products.  For example, we have challenged inaction and insufficiently protective regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and we have challenged to other Consumer Product Safety Commission's failure to live up to a statutory mandate to provide protection against hazardous materials.  Moving outdoors, the Litigation Group uses its Supreme Court expertise to assist environmental groups in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  In many cases, we have successfully defended lower-court environmental victories by helping to persuade the Supreme Court not to consider the issues.  In other cases, we have assisted environmental groups in briefing and arguing cases on the merits.  To read more about our cases, click here.

Auto and Truck Safety and Related Issues

On behalf of ourselves and other auto safety organziations, we bring cases to challenge rules and actions taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in regard to regulation of both passenger vehicles and trucks.  Through litigation, we seek to strengthen safety regulation and to ensure that these divisions of the Department of Transportation act in accordance with statutory mandates.  Read about those cases here.

Read our educational materials and learn about our advocacy on this topic.

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

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.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


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