Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


Sept. 13, 2011

Report: Regulations Spur Reluctant Industries to Innovate

New Public Citizen Report Details Improvements, Cost Savings, Protections in Wake of Regulatory Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many regulations that were originally scorned by politicians and industry as signaling the death of product lines, companies and jobs – including rules requiring more efficient light bulbs and banning chemicals that damage the ozone layer – in fact stimulated healthy innovations that have protected American lives and saved billions of dollars without harming industry, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.

The report, “Regulation: An Unsung Hero in American Innovation,” describes five regulations that were originally excoriated but have resulted in innovations that improved public safety, helped the environment and led to better products. The rules increased light bulb efficiency, reduced sulfur dioxide emissions, protected workers from cancer-causing vinyl chloride emissions, prevented emissions of ozone layer-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and vastly improved the energy efficiency of home appliances. The report delves into reasons the safeguards were proposed, the stiff resistance and apocalyptic claims from affected industries and the important innovations resulting from each.

“The idea that we have to destroy the environment and kill workers to have a healthy economy must be put to rest,” said Negah Mouzoon, researcher with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and a co-author of the report. “The untold story is that regulations are catalysts of technical innovations and economic development.” 

The report comes as public protections are under attack from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business allies in Congress, who focus on the cost of rules while ignoring their public safety benefits and their potential to spur innovations.

Because of the five regulations:

  • New light bulbs have been invented that emit light almost identical to that of traditional incandescent bulbs, are 30 percent more efficient, last three times longer and will save consumers money over time;
  • Scrubber technology to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants has been vastly improved, resulting in significant reductions in pollution and yielding huge public health benefits;
  • A system was developed to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that both shielded workers from cancer-causing chemicals and increased efficiency;
  • An improved aerosol system uses propellants that do not harm the ozone layer; and
  • Greatly increased efficiency of home appliances has saved consumers billions of dollars on their energy bills.

“Congress and the White House should look at the record instead of the rhetoric about regulations,” said Taylor Lincoln, research director with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and a co-author of the report. “This report shows what happens what the government calls on industry to do its best instead of caving in to its desire to do the least.” 

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.

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.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.