Business & Finance
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports November 2017

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.

United States
Consumer Union
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$7.01(Incl. tax)
$33.75(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
a diet of good information

IT WAS ALMOST 100 years ago, in 1918, when Lulu Hunt Peters, M.D., told Americans that they could stay healthy by counting and capping their calorie intake, in what is widely considered the .rst best-selling nutrition book in U.S. history. In the century since, healthy eating advice has erupted into an enormously lucrative—and frequently confusing—industry, one populated not only by contradictory scienti.c claims but also by a host of charlatans and questionable corporate backers. As with so many areas of our lives today, healthy eating has become vexingly complex; consumers are inundated with marketplace noise that can leave us uncertain about whom we can trust when it comes to advice about cholesterol, “good” fats, and every other nutritional choice we make. Year after year, Americans have been instructed that the…

4 min.
building a better world, together

Affordable Hearing Aids WHAT’S AT STAKE In July we told you about a CR-backed bill in Congress that aimed to make hearing aids more accessible and affordable. Now, we’re happy to report that the bill hit its bull’s-eye. The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act was passed and signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017. The law directs the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations making prescriptionquality hearing aids available without a medical exam or prescription for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Before this bill, only hearing-aid look-alike devices were available without a prescription. Called “sound amplifiers,” or PSAPs, they aren’t regulated, don’t provide much benefit, and could even cause additional hearing damage. Thanks to the new law, the FDA is now required to create rules ensuring that…

7 min.
your feedback

Being Mindful About Medications Our September cover article, “Too Many Meds?” resulted in much thoughtful discussion about the amount of drugs consumers are being prescribed in the U.S. today—possibly to the point of overmedication—and what ought to be done about it. You can join the conversation at CR.org/meds1117. YOUR COVER STORY discussed the totals drug companies spent on marketing their products last year to consumers and doctors through ads pushing their latest nostrum for questionable problems like “low T.” Every time I see a commercial on television or online, I can’t help but think about how these billions of dollars could be better spent. If the drug companies were required to set aside 10 cents for every dollar they spent on advertising to fund research on drug addiction, it could reduce…

7 min.
clearing the air

The latest ratings from our labs YOUR WINDOWS MAY BE spotless and your floors may sparkle, but for millions of adults and children with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions, a house is only as clean as its air. Though it might be hard to believe, indoor air can be five times dirtier than what we breathe outside, exposing us to carcinogens including radon and formaldehyde, as well as quotidian lung- gunking impurities such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and a variety of particulate matter created when we burn candles or cook. Judging from the skyward trend in sales figures, Americans are turning to portable air purifiers in increasing numbers, paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to reduce indoor air pollutants and the sniffles, sneezes, coughs, and asthma attacks they can…

2 min.
13 ways to bust the dust

POLLUTANTS CAN BE introduced into the air of your home in a number of ways. Some are carried in on the breeze; some are carried in, unwittingly, by you. “A lot of things come into our homes on our clothing, including pollen and cat allergens,” says Elliott Horner, Ph.D., lead scientist for UL Environment (Underwriters Laboratories). Other pollutants originate inside the home, such as when you pet your dog and release dander into the air or burn a piece of toast and send smoke streaming into the kitchen. It’s difficult not to generate indoor air pollution in your home, Horner says. To get rid of impurities, you need to pursue several lines of attack. Following the checklist below will help you to minimize indoor air pollution so that a portable air…

4 min.
9 home filters you should be cleaning or replacing

1AIR PURIFIER Most air purifiers have a filter indicator (often a light) that alerts you when the filter should be checked and possibly replaced. Though you can simply wipe down most prefilters, the main HEPA filter should be replaced about every six to 12 months, or as your manual advises. We factor this expense—new filters can cost between $50 and $100 or more annually—into the annual costs listed in our ratings, on page 14. Keep in mind that some newer air purifiers will tell you when it’s time to change a filter based on how much you’ve used the unit, and others base their alert on a set number of hours. “So if you run your purifier less often, you should inspect the filter before tossing it to keep from replacing it…