CONSUMERS UNION
Publisher of Consumer Reports


Seeking the true face of Consumers Union.
It isn't what it appears to be.

Consumers Union claims to be dedicated to the welfare of the consumer. Its actions indicate otherwise. It says it accepts no advertising and takes no contributions from big business or other commercial interests. But something else may be happening that they want to hide. Much of what they feed to the public is not illuminating, badly-needed information but articles taken from the general, advertising-controlled, media.

money in hand Below is a list of their main contributors, according to their 2006 Annual Report. The amount of money given by the Major Contributors is not stated. It could be considerable, since they have an annual revenue of $160 million. Is it possible that these people, and others, may be exerting influence behind the scenes? We all know how big money runs our government. Isn't it reasonable to expect that big business will try to corrupt anything that can serve its goal of maximum profits, including major nonprofit organizations like Consumers Union?

FOUNDATIONS AND GRANTORS - MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS

CLARENCE E. HELLER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
COMMONWEALTH FUND
CORNERSTONE CAMPAIGN
DAVID AND LUCILE PACKARD FOUNDATION
EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION OF AMERICA
ENGELBERG FOUNDATION
FORD FOUNDATION
FJC - A FOUNDATION OF DONOR ADVISED FUNDS
JOHN MERCK FUND
JOHN S AND JAMES L KNIGHT FOUNDATION
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE
NY COMMUNITY TRUST
OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE
OVERBROOK FOUNDATION
THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS
ROBERT STERLING CLARK FOUNDATION
SCHERMAN FOUNDATION
SURDNA FOUNDATION
WILLIAM ZIMMERMAN FOUNDATION
W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION

CONTRIBUTORS OF $5,000 AND UP

ANONYMOUS
LAURIE CONVERSE
THERESA M DAVIS
MARYLOU COOPER GREEN & MICHAEL GREEN
DIANE M MCGOWAN
PHILIP R NIELSEN
DAVID & MARIAN ROCKER
RICHARD A SWINGLE

We are particularly interested in matters that affect our health. So we went to the Consumers Union Consumer Reports Health and Fitness Page and typed several terms into their search box, which searches back to 2002. These happen to be a few of the topics about which the profit-oriented business world tries to mislead the public. Here are our results, which we feel are consistently slanted toward the needs of big business rather than consumers:

MYOPIA or NEARSIGHTEDNESS: No results. This is a serious problem that turns one-third of our children into visual cripples. Our comments on this lack of interest can be read on the Myopia.org Home Page. This is a perfect example of the intrigue that takes place in the money-giving business.

RED YEAST RICE: One result, a 2006 article entitled, "Supplements or statins for cholesterol?", in which they promote the use of statins over several other safer products, like Red Yeast Rice. This is a safe and inexpensive product available in all health food stores that reduces the body's production of cholesterol, just as dangerous and expensive statin drugs do. Those drugs have killed hundreds of people. Read more at Cholesterolcheck.org. Isn't it curious that Consumers Union wants you to take dangerous statin drugs instead? Could it be that Consumers Union doesn't want to upset the drug companies which have tried franticly to ban this product from the market because they know that it DOES work?

FLUORIDATION: One article from 2006 found. Consumers Union recommends that infants drink fluoridated water and use fluoridated tooth paste. This is a violent poison that is being sold to unsuspecting consumers by companies that produce it as a toxic byproduct. This saves them the cost of disposing of it safely. Search for "fluoride toxicity" on the Internet and see for yourself. Consumers Union does not mention the role that refined sugar plays in destroying our teeth. That would upset the soft drink, breakfast cereal and candy manufacturers, among others. Apparently they prefer to fight tooth decay with a poison instead of a healthy lifestyle. Consumers Union says "Fluoride is a naturally occurring element." This is the same lie that fluoridation proponents use. Fluoride is not an element. Fluorine is the name of the element. And when fluorine is found in nature, it is usually in the form of calcium fluoride, a relatively nontoxic and non-soluble compound. The fluorine that is put into our water and other products is in the form of highly toxic and highly soluble waste products of varying mixtures, like sodium fluoride. Consumers Union tells you none of this, just as big business likes it.

NUTRASWEET: One article from 2005 found. This product contains aspartame, a strong neurotoxin which many scientists say is dangerous. Do a search for "aspartame neurotoxin" on the Internet and see for yourself. Does Consumers Union mention this danger? No, their article is just about taste comparisons!

MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE: No results: MSG, like aspartame, is a neurotoxin that is not just used in some Chinese restaurants, but is put into many processed foods because the manufacturer can make a tastier food with fewer natural ingredients. It causes numbness, mouth lesions, nausea, shaking, chest pain, anxiety, slurred speech, seizures, memory loss, kidney pain and many other things, including death. Consumers Union should be on a mission to get this taken out of our foods. Why aren't they? Ties to big business, in our opinion.

TINNITUS: No results: Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears that affects tens of millions of people in this country alone. A major cause is prescription drugs that are ototoxic, especially antibiotics. Few people know this, because the drug industry does its best to hide this information. Even if tinnitus is listed as a side effect of a drug, it is listed along with temporary symptoms, like headache, that go away when the drug is no longer taken. We aren't told that this is often a permanent condition. To learn more, do an Internet search for "drugs that cause tinnitus." Why doesn't Consumers Union provide this kind of information, especially when the condition affects so many people? Could it be that they don't want to upset the drug industry?

PINHOLE GLASSES: No results. Although tens of thousands of these are sold every year, the general public knows nothing about them. This is because the optical industry has used our government to try to ban them from the market in the past. Optical stores do not carry them because prescription glasses are more profitable. You can learn about them at Pinholeglasses.org. So, why doesn't Consumers Union mention this safe and inexpensive product? Could the reason be a behind-the-scene alliance with big business?

We could go on and on, but this is just a sample. In our opinion, Consumers Union, like many others, is just an empty facade of what a true consumer-oriented organization should be. It seems to be secretly controlled and corrupted by business interests. That is the reason for their self-imposed ignorance and uncaring attitude. IMPA, which provides this website, is a true consumer organization. Consumer Reports may have been more consumer-oriented at one time, but it now seems to have gone the way of Prevention Magazine. Prevention was started in 1950 by a man who was concerned about the early prevention of diseases through a healthy lifestyle. It is now a slick publication with little worthwhile content. Drug advertisements seem to dominate its pages.

What kind of things does Consumers Union think it is important to inform you about? Here is an example, taken from the Health & Fitness page on 3/17/07: "Flat Earth crisps -- We sampled all six flavors of Frito-Lay's newest line of snacks--three fruit, three veggie. Here's what we found." Don't you get the feeling that they have their priorities backwards?

In reality, this unmistakable pattern of misinformation that cannot be haphazard is evidence that Consumers Union is not at all what it claims to be, and that it is willing to partner with big business if it can keep this relationship hidden. Are we really to believe that foundations with names like Ford, Merck and Kellog no longer have ties to the business world? Are we to believe that they are driven by some saintly desire to help mankind? Are we to believe that these contributors do not have some issue they wish to promote and that they, themselves, are not being used by commercial interests? Foundations that give out money usually let it be known how it should or should not be spent. Such stipulations do not have to be in writing. They are often self-evident.

Nonprofit organizations are not always what they seem. As an example, you might think that Prevent Blindness American would be interested in preventing myopia, since myopia often leads to loss of vision and blindness. They have no such interest. They are financed by optical companies that are only concerned about loss of income. They actually fight against myopia prevention.

It is easy to imagine that every one of these contributors has something it wants in return for the money. If some of these contributors are legitimate, with no personal agenda to promote, they will be surprised when they learn of Consumers Union's true nature. Perhaps they will find a more needy organization to give their money to in the future. And if the public gradually begins to conclude that Consumers Union is a fraud, can they be blamed?

James guest
President James Guest
What is he hiding?
The president of this dubious organization is James Guest. He does what he is told or he would soon be looking for other work. The Board of Directors really has the power. Not long ago, IMPA wrote an individual letter to James Guest and each of the directors. All letters went unanswered. We received an email from a low-level person saying that they were not interested in exposing the myopia tragedy. Let's look more closely at these board members from the 2006 Annual Report who are listed below. Every one of them, together with their organizations, could be the recipient of money from big business, in one way or another.

One is associated with the American Heart Assn., run by doctors and drug companies. They are critical of Red Yeast Rice and home cholesterol test kits, among other things. One is an M.D. That speaks for itself. Seven are associated with universities. University presidents spend much of their time fund-raising. They kiss up to big corporations in order to get donations and money in the form of research grants. They will come down hard on anyone who criticizes these donors. One is with a public broadcasting station. Such stations get a lot of money from the business world. And if you do a little more digging, you will probably find corporate ties to all of them. These people do NOT represent consumers.

Sharon L. Nelson, Chair
Former Chief, Consumer Protection
Washington State Attorney Generalís Office

Jean Ann Fox, Vice Chair
Director of Consumer Protection
Consumer Federation of America

Pamela Abrams, Secretary
Senior Vice President
Downtown Bookworks Inc.

Clarence M. Ditlow, Treasurer
Executive Director
Center for Auto Safety

Robert S. Adler
Professor of Legal Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Robert E. Baensch
Associate Professor and Director of
the Center for Publishing
New York University

William F. Baker
President
Thirteen/WNET

Christine A. Bjorklund
Communications Consultant
San Francisco

Walter D. Bristol
Executive Vice President for Corporate Operations
and CFO American Heart Association
Bernard E. Brooks
President, Bernard E. Brooks Management
Consulting Firm, South Carolina

Laurence E. Bunin
Senior Vice President for Operations and
General Manager, SAT program The College Board

Barbara S. Friedman
Sr. Vice President of Finance & Administration
Association of American Medical Colleges

Linda E. Ginzel
Clinical Professor of Managerial Psychology
University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Karen Hein, MD
Former President,
William T. Grant Foundation

Carol Izumi
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professor of
Clinical Law, George Washington University
Law School

Burnele Venable Powell
Dean and Professor, School of Law
University of South Carolina

Teresa Moran Schwartz
Professor of Law Emeritus
George Washington University

Norman I. Silber
Professor, Consumer Law & History
School of Law, Hofstra University

Consumers Union seems to have enveloped itself in an aura of holiness. Like doctors, they want us to believe that their only concern is our welfare. That isn't realistic. This is not a Union of Consumers; this is a Union of Consumer Manipulators. Do you really want to spend your money on Consumers Union's slanted publication? Won't you find better information by searching the Internet? Email this article to your friends.