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  • Toy Safety Tips | MASSPIRG Students
    child swallows even one magnet seek immediate medical attention 3 Watch or Button Batteries Keep watch or button batteries away from children If swallowed the battery acid can cause fatal internal injuries 4 Noise Children s ears are sensitive If a toy seems too loud for your ears it is probably too loud for a child Take the batteries out of loud toys or cover the speakers with tape 5 Strangulation Hazards Mobiles Keep mobiles out of the reach of children in cribs and remove them before the baby is five months old or can push him herself up Cords Remove knobs and beads from cords longer than one foot to prevent the cords from tangling into a dangerous loop Drawstrings Clothing with drawstrings on the hood can get caught on fixed objects like playground equipment and pose a strangulation hazard 6 Lead and Other Toxic Chemicals Some children s toys and cosmetics may contain lead or other toxic chemicals including phthalates While most lead and phthalates are being phased out of toys beginning in 2009 older toys may still contain them Toys with PVC Plastic Avoid toys made of PVC plastic which could contain toxic phthalates posing developmental hazards choose unpainted wooden or cloth toys instead Lead The Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC PIRG and children s health groups have found high levels of lead paint on toys as well as high levels of lead in vinyl lunch boxes and bibs and in children s costume jewelry All lead should be removed from a child s environment especially lead jewelry and other toys that can be swallowed To test jewelry for lead use a home lead tester available at the hardware store or simply throw costume jewelry made with such heavy metals away Other chemicals Read the labels of play cosmetics and avoid products with xylene toluene or dibutyl phthalate Additional Tips Accessorize your kids for safety Toys such as bicycles scooters skateboards and inline skates are safer when children wear protective gear If you plan to give any of these toys as gifts make them safer by also giving a helmet knee pads elbow pads and wrist guards Stay informed of recalls The CPSC recalls numerous toys and children s products each year Check www recalls gov for an archive of old recalls and to sign up to receive email alerts of new recalls Report A Dangerous Toy The Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC has the authority to recall dangerous toys and products from the market If you think a toy or product is hazardous contact the CPSC and submit a report by Phone 1 800 638 2772 Email Send a message to the CPSC Website Report a dangerous toy at www saferproducts gov Find Out More Visit toysafety mobi on your smartphone to get these tips while you shop Print out these tips for toy safety pdf These tips are designed to help parents grandparents caregivers and toy buyers avoid the most common hazards in toys Tell

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/resources/toy-safety-tips/sp (2016-04-29)
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  • Trouble in Toyland | MASSPIRG Students
    from choking incidents This year we found several toys that contained small parts or near small part toys The toys containing small parts contained improper labels and might be mistakenly purchased for children under 3 The toys containing near small parts support our long term principle that the small parts test should be made more protective by making the test cylinder larger We found small cars that included small parts rubber traction bands on wheels Although the toy includes a statutory choke hazard warning and is labeled 4 the tiny label may violate CPSC hazard warning rules We also found several dollar store toys such as a small bowling ball and pin toy set with missing obscured or tiny choke hazard warning labels We also found some toy foods including both near small parts and other rounded ball like foods that would fail the small ball test although they are technically subject to the less stringent small parts test Toy foods poses a special hazard because they look to small children like something that should be eaten Round toy food should be tested as if it is a ball but the CPSC interprets the law differently Noisy Toys Research has shown that a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise iv The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that one in five U S children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12 This may be in part due to many children using toys and other children s products such as music players that emit loud sounds v The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range vi We found two toys a car driving wheel on a console and a toy guitar on store shelves that exceeded the recommended limit for continuous exposure of 85 decibels We also found one close to the ear toy a cell phone that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter Recommendations for Policy Makers Policymakers must ensure that the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC is given the resources it needs to effectively protect consumers Policymakers must also continue vigorous oversight of implementation and enforcement of the new law Policymakers should require manufacturers to provide all hazard and health impact information to the state and federal government so agencies can begin to assess the thousands of chemicals currently on the market for which little or inadequate data are available There is overwhelming evidence showing that the Toxic Substances Control Act is failing our most vulnerable consumers pregnant women babies and children Policymakers should take steps to ensure that the American people are better protected from toxins in products Policymakers should reject well funded special interest efforts to weaken the ability of regulatory agencies to conduct rulemakings or enforce rules designed to protect public health and safety

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/trouble-toyland/sp (2016-04-29)
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  • The Twinkie Tax | MASSPIRG Students
    ve spent 16 9 billion since 1995 to subsidize four common junk food additives corn syrup high fructose corn syrup corn starch and soy oils which are frequently processed further into the hydrogenated vegetable oils you often find on junk food ingredient lists These are empty calories pure and simple pure fats carbohydrates and sugars If the junk food subsidies were spent directly on consumers they d be enough to buy each of America s 144 million taxpayers 19 Twinkies apiece every year If you d rather your tax dollars went somewhere else fresh fruits and vegetables say you re out of luck Since 1995 taxpayers spent only 262 million subsidizing apples which is the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits or vegetables Per taxpayer that s less than a quarter of a Red Delicious a year Given that we are currently in the throes of an epidemic of childhood obesity childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades with one in five kids aged 6 to 11 now obese these junk food subsidies are especially irresponsible With so much attention on deficits and government spending it s time for Congress and Senator Kerry who sits on the deficit reduction Super Committee to take a second look at its priorities and end this wasteful spending Jacqueline DiPersio MASSPIRG intern UMass Lowell About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/ma/twinkie-tax (2016-04-29)
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  • A trillion we can agree on | MASSPIRG Students
    American people By embracing the recommendations in our joint report the Super Committee would be identifying 80 percent of the deficit reduction it needs to succeed in its mission and it would do so by plucking the low hanging fruit off the federal budget The report takes aim at handouts finagled through years of relentless insider lobbying programs that have outlived their usefulness and gross inefficiencies that have persisted for decades Consider that multibillion dollar agribusiness giants are set to benefit from taxpayer subsidies that will total 50 billion in the coming decade Taxpayers will spend another 2 billion on promotional assistance to benefit some of our nation s best known brands and most prodigious advertisers including fast food chains and clothing manufacturers We ll be on the hook for almost 40 billion in excess spare parts for defense systems another 17 billion to maintain empty or underused federal buildings and more than 47 billion from excessive payments to health providers that are out of whack with other areas of the country even after accounting for legitimate differences in cost of operation All of these items cited in our analysis including redundant military aircraft antiquated approaches to information technology poorly administered programs and more could if reformed yield substantial savings It shouldn t take a deficit crisis to spur congressional action to eliminate special interest giveaways or improve inefficient or outdated programs Taxpayers deserve the most bang for their buck no matter whether the economy is up or down While we hear public officials in Washington talk a lot about getting the waste out of the federal budget too many believe that gridlock makes it impossible to translate words into deeds Our report is both a roadmap and reason for hope America s current fiscal problems are an opportunity for

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/ma/trillion-we-can-agree (2016-04-29)
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  • VIDEO: Should gov't subsidize crops used in junk food? | MASSPIRG Students
    Oregon helps to show that most subsidies go to huge grain producers About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact Media Hits by Campaign Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable Newsroom Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources MASSPIRG Students in Action North Shore student Kaitlyn Heathman speaks at a press conference releasing our transportation report Common Connections Students support more affordable textbooks Students at UMASS Boston show off their energy efficiency knowledge Students at Fitchburg

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/ma/video-should-govt-subsidize-crops-used-junk-food (2016-04-29)
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  • SSU Students Tweet for High Speed Trains | MASSPIRG Students
    rail funding The photos were then immediately attached to a flood of tweets directed at Scott Brown s Twitter account Today was more of an awareness activity than anything else an opportunity to build support around high speed rail said MASSPIRG community organizer Sean McGrath on Thursday We understand this is a long term process so we want to continue to build support through petitions and awareness Student leader and junior political science major Caitlin McGaw made a public statement in support of the iniatitive Building high speed rails is crucial to fighting our oil addiction and reducing gridlock on our roads laying a foundation for a 21st century economy while creating jobs Here in Massachusetts we have over 30 million in federal grants to upgrade and expand Boston South Station to accomodate a 50 percent increase in high speed rail travel Over 7 million has already been invested to improve train service in Amtrak s North East corridor which hosts the fastest trains in America and starts right here in Massachusetts she said To date 43 tweets have been sent featuring over 60 different students staff and faculty The entire stream can be seen by following seanmcgrt on Twitter Related Chapter Salem State University About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/ma/ssu-students-tweet-high-speed-trains (2016-04-29)
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  • Cutting Interest Rates, Lowering Student Debt - Updated | MASSPIRG Students
    million attend four year public or private non profit institutions The vast majority of these borrowers come from low and middle income families According to the Congressional Research Service 75 of traditional aged borrowers with subsidized Stafford loans come from families with incomes below 67 374 The median income for an American family of four is 65 000 Cutting Interest Rates The College Cost Reduction and Access Act reduces interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates Loans originated during the next four years are set at fixed interest rates of 6 0 in 2008 2009 5 6 in 2009 2010 4 5 in 2010 2011 and 3 4 in 2011 2012 After graduation students can consolidate their loans into one loan at the weighted average of the interest rates of their various loans Interest rates are reset on July 1st for the following school year Findings Lower Interest Rates Will Save Students Thousands of Dollars By lowering interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans Congress saved college students thousands of dollars over the life of their loans We found The average four year college student starting school in 2008 with subsidized Stafford loans will save about 2 570 over the life of his or her loans The average savings for freshmen starting school in 2008 vary slightly from state to state ranging from 2 820 for a student in California to 2 340 for a student in West Virginia Table ES 1 About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/cutting-interest-rates-lowering-student-debt-updated (2016-04-29)
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  • Required Reading | MASSPIRG Students
    on average than their unbundled counterparts We found examples of bundled books however that are considerably more expensive costing 46 to 48 percent more than the standard edition For example the bundled version of Pearson s International Economics costs 48 percent more than the unbundled version New Covers Old Content Zero Used Books Publishers frequently issue new editions of textbooks often with few substantive changes and even in subject areas like calculus and introductory physics that have not changed significantly in years Once a new edition is issued faculty and bookstores have little choice but to stop using the old edition The result is that the previous edition disappears from bookstore shelves almost overnight limiting the used textbook market We found two examples of new editions that faculty reviewers say lack substantive changes Thomson s Western Civilization 6th edition and Houghton Mifflin s Calculus with Analytic Geometry 7th edition Modern Bundles Resell Sabotage Bundling not only can increase the price of a textbook but also can undermine the used book market Textbooks increasingly come wrapped with one time use components such as one time passwords to websites with problem sets that prevent the entire book package from being resold at the end of a semester Pearson s bundled version of General Chemistry 9th edition is one example of a book with packaged components that eliminate buyback potential Low Cost Options that are Anything But Low Cost Publishers often claim that they offer lower cost options that are cheaper than the standard hardcover text McGraw Hill s Organic Chemistry 6th edition is one example of an allegedly low cost textbook that upon further examination actually has a higher net cost than the standard edition Customized to Limit the Used Book Market Publishers increasingly promote custom books which allow a professor to pick and choose the content he or she wishes to include in the class text While customization can potentially lower the cost of a textbook and create a more focused curriculum custom books also can undermine the used book market At the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign one professor tailored Houghton Mifflin s Psychology 7th edition so specifically for his course that his students will not be able to sell the book back Policy Recommendations Textbooks Should Be Priced and Sold at a Reasonable Cost to Students Publishers should work to keep the cost of producing their books and ancillary items as low as possible without sacrificing educational content Low cost alternatives should be true equivalents of their standard counterparts having equal usability completeness and quality of content When publishers sell textbooks bundled they should sell the same textbooks separately Faculty should give preference to the lowest cost option when the educational content is comparable Publishers Faculty and Universities Should Build a Vibrant Used Textbook Market Publishers should keep each textbook edition and related ancillary items on the market as long as possible without sacrificing educational content Publishers should give preference to print or online supplements to current editions

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/required-reading (2016-04-29)
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