EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Business & Finance
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports October 2018

Ratings, recommendations, reliability reports, safety and price comparisons from the world’s largest consumer testing center. Helps consumers make better choices for everything from cars to cell phone service. The only magazine of its kind: Expert, independent, nonprofit. 100% unbiased. Consumer Reports accepts no outside advertising.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Consumer Union
Frequency:
Monthly
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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
is our food supply safe?

LAST MONTH, we introduced the first part of a new series taking a deep look into one of the most consequential—but often overlooked—aspects of our lives: the integrity of the food we eat. Too frequently, we remain in the dark about the quality or safety of what we’re consuming or using. Why should we be asked to accept food that may contain traces of potentially dangerous drugs—such as the anemia-linked chloramphenicol, banned anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone, and hallucinogenic antidepressant ketamine—in the marketplace? These prohibited drugs are among those that have been detected in the U.S. food supply, according to government data obtained by CR and analyzed by our experts. For this month’s cover story, CR pored over thousands of data points and interviewed farmers, scientists, regulators, and industry leaders to explore and better…

4 min.
building a better world, together

Beating Back Surprise Bills WHAT'S AT STAKE Some good news in the fight to end surprise medical bills: New Jersey is the latest state to pass legislation protecting consumers caught in a reimbursement battle between insurance companies and out-of-network doctors. The law’s target is so-called balance billing, in which patients are charged directly for any amount their insurance won’t cover. This practice is especially common after visits to emergency rooms, where patients are often treated by doctors who aren’t in their insurance networks—even at in-network hospitals. The Out-of-network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act will protect New Jerseyans from surprise charges, including balance billing. It requires more disclosure from insurers and providers so that it’s clear to consumers what their plans cover, ensures patients aren’t responsible for excess costs if the services…

7 min.
your feedback

Our August cover story, “Take Control of Cable TV!” detailed ways to slash your cable bill, stream more content, or dump your cable company entirely—and many of you took action. To share your tips, go to CR.org/cable1018. THANK YOU for this article! Since receiving my August issue two weeks ago, I have selected DirecTV Now to receive TV channels over the internet: Eighty-plus channels for $50 per month. This morning I returned my cable-company equipment. I have a smart TV but purchased a Roku Express stick with the DirecTV Now app. I also purchased antennas for local airwave channels that used to be on cable. Some conveniences of the cable TV guide are missing. I will save $63 a month. —Cynthia Mahoney, Cape Coral, FL YOUR AUGUST ISSUE was the best summation of…

1 min.
is hearing protection really necessary while i’m leaf-blowing?

THERE ARE CERTAINLY differences in noise levels among model types, says Dave Trezza, who tests leaf blowers for CR. For example, gas leaf blowers—particularly backpack models—are the loudest and the cause for the most concern: Some can generate enough noise to risk hearing damage in as little as 2 hours. Although electric handheld models, such as the Ryobi above, are quieter, hearing damage is cumulative, so protection is still a good idea. Look for models that score well in our tests for noise at ear and noise at 50 feet, and when shopping for ear protection, “check the NRR (noise reduction rating),” Trezza says. “Most will have an NRR between 20 and 30, but the higher the number, the better.” For the latest ratings of these and other product categories, readers…

2 min.
what we’re testing in our labs …

Air Purifiers WE TESTED: 14 large-room models WE TEST FOR: How well a model removes dust and smoke from the air on high and low speed settings, noise levels, and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Median: 64 Range: 58-89 89 OVERALL SCORE Top-Rated for Dust and Smoke Blueair Blue Pure 211 $200 76 OVERALL SCORE Easy to Use and Change Filters Honeywell HPA300 $200 59 OVERALL SCORE Breathe-Easy Price Winix 5300-2 $150 Leaf Blowers WE TESTED: 19 models WE TEST FOR: How quickly a model moves leaf particles, noise, ease of use, and more. ABOUT THE SCORES: Electric Median: 57 Range: 36-82 Gas Backpack Median: 76 Range: 61-89 89 OVERALL SCORE Heavy-Duty Backpack for Extra-Leafy Lawns (Gas) Stihl BR 350 $350 82 OVERALL SCORE Good for Midsized Leafy Lawns (Electric) Toro UltraPlus 51621 $100 80 OVERALL SCORE Light-Duty for Clearing Off Decks and Drives (Electric) Ryobi RY42102 $40 Handheld Vacuums WE TESTED: 11 models WE TEST FOR: How well a model surface-cleans carpeting and bare floors, reaches…

4 min.
my car is starting to smell musty, and an air freshener isn’t cutting it. what else can i do?

Before you try to mask any off-putting smell, investigate its source, says John Ibbotson, CR’s chief mechanic. Mold, mildew, or even rotting leaves trapped somewhere in a car’s vents are frequent causes of funky smells. Follow your nose: If it leads you to your dashboard air vents, for example, check the cabin air filter (your manual will tell you where it is and how to remove it) to clear out leaves and other debris. You can buy a new filter online (about $10 to $50) and replace it yourself. You can also buy a professional-grade vent and duct cleaner spray for cars (about $10) that will help kill any fungi hiding in your vents. Just read the can’s instructions. If you have carpeted floor mats, moisture trapped underneath could be the source. Try…