(Consumerist Dot Com)

Physicians Say Rite Aid’s Early Alzheimer’s Detection Test Can Cause Needless Fear

A test being used at Rite Aid stores to test for early warning signs of Alzheimer’s may be doing more harm than good, some medical professionals say. [More]

Elementary School Decides To Stop Giving Kids A Dose Of Mountain Dew Before A Big Test

Elementary School Decides To Stop Giving Kids A Dose Of Mountain Dew Before A Big Test

If I learned anything from spying on my brothers playing Dungeons & Dragons in the basement with their friends, it’s that Mountain Dew is often the preferred fuel of choice for staying awake and making sharp decisions. That being said, a Florida elementary school was getting a heck of a lot of criticism for giving kids a dose of the stuff before taking high-pressure tests. [More]

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Toaster Ovens: Good Tiny Ovens, Bad At Making Toast

Do you eat toast? Our lightly browned colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports spend a lot of time testing things that you might not think of to test. For example: the quality of toast produced in toasters vs. that produced in toaster ovens. Turns out that you’re better off with a plain old toaster, unless the “oven” part is important to you. [More]

College Board & ACT Sued For Selling Personal Info Of Test-Takers

College Board & ACT Sued For Selling Personal Info Of Test-Takers

As anyone who took the ACT or SAT tests remembers, shortly after you get your scores, your mailbox is flooded with brochures, pamphlets, and catalogs from schools that want your tuition money. This isn’t a coincidence, as The College Board and ACT, Inc. — the companies behind these tests — sells test-takers’ information to colleges. But a new lawsuit alleges that this practice is a breach of contract as it’s done without the test-takers’ consent. [More]

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Want Only The Best Toilet Papers? Go To Walmart, Apparently

Toilet paper: almost everyone uses it, but do you put much thought into which brands you buy? Do you have a brand preference, or just pick up the biggest and cheapest package available at Walmart or Costco? Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports put on their 2-ply lab coats and got to work stirring, pulling, and caressing various brands of toilet paper to find out which brands really are the best. [More]

Consumer Reports Puts Pledge Fabric Sweeper To The Test

Consumer Reports Puts Pledge Fabric Sweeper To The Test

It’s the problem that has vexed cat and dog owners for centuries: How the hell do I get all this damn fur off everything. There have been countless inventions that promise to lift animal hair off your furniture and carpet, but do they work? [More]

Need A Blender? Here Are The Ones Consumer Reports Likes

Need A Blender? Here Are The Ones Consumer Reports Likes

Consumer Reports recently tested the drink-making abilities of over 40 blenders, and then they passed out in a pool of frozen margarita. But seriously folks, you don’t need to spend $400 on a Blendtec “Total Blender”–there’s a $40 Oster model “did just as well.” [More]

Safety Commission Cracking Down On Cadmium In Kids' Jewelry

Safety Commission Cracking Down On Cadmium In Kids' Jewelry

It’s a good thing summer camps are coming up, with their weird seminars on bracelet weaving and whittling rings, because the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just announced a recall of 19,000 charms sold at Claire’s stores, and says that’s just the beginning. [More]

Wired Reviews Smart Mop, Says It's Dumb

Wired Reviews Smart Mop, Says It's Dumb

The twistable, change-your-life-forever Smart Mop that’s sold via infomercial looks sort of handy, but does it work? Wired tested one out, and says no, it does not work. In fact, it leaves behind liquid instead of sopping it up, falls apart frequently, and scrapes across the floor if you don’t hold it just right. Wired wraps up the review with this very non-infomercial suggestion: “If you’re sick of taking paper towel to floor every time Junior dumps his milk, well, tough, that’s part of being a parent.” [More]

Toyota Stops Selling Lexus SUV After Consumer Reports Says "Don't Buy"

Toyota Stops Selling Lexus SUV After Consumer Reports Says "Don't Buy"

It’s a big deal when Consumer Reports awards a “Don’t Buy” rating to a vehicle, and when it announced earlier today that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 should be avoided because of safety risks, the story started popping up all over the web. Now only 12 hours later, Lexus has announced that it is asking dealers to temporarily stop selling the vehicle while it looks into the situation, and that it’s taking the Consumer Reports claim “very seriously.” [More]

Judge Says You Can't Patent Human Genes

Judge Says You Can't Patent Human Genes

A judge just invalidated the patents on two human genes whose mutations have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The genes were isolated by a biotech firm called Myriad Genetics, which argued that because it figured out how to isolate the genes outside of the human body then they were patentable. The judge called that “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies.” The company sells a $3,000 cancer screening kit and has maintained a monopoly on the test because of the patents. [More]

Test Your Broadband Speeds For The FCC

Test Your Broadband Speeds For The FCC

Last Thursday, the FCC started collecting information from consumers about the quality of their broadband service. If you’ve got a PC that can run Java, you can go to Broadband.gov and run the test now. (The FCC will collect your IP address and physical address, but not your name or email address, reports Wired.) If you’ve got an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can download an app to measure your connectivity and report it. [More]

Who Keeps Pooping In My Bags Of Salad?!

Who Keeps Pooping In My Bags Of Salad?!

In my household, there’s an ongoing argument about whether bagged salad can be eaten straight from the bag, or whether it should be washed first, or why did we buy this bag of salad instead of more beer. When not championing beer, I’ve always come down on the don’t-bother-washing side, but I might finally agree to change my food prep habits after this recent Consumer Reports study that says 39% of bagged salads are contaminated with bacteria. [More]

Wash Your New Clothes In Case Someone Wore Them And Returned Them

Wash Your New Clothes In Case Someone Wore Them And Returned Them

Okay, honestly this sort of stuff doesn’t really bother me, but if you’re a neat freak or just enjoy making gross-out faces when it comes to biology, remember to always wash your new clothes before you wear them. Good Morning America tested some new blouses, pants, a jacket, and underwear to see what sort of grime they could find. Here’s a tease about the results: the term “vaginal organisms” is mentioned at one point. [More]

Consumer Reports Tests "Racist" HP Webcam

Consumer Reports Tests "Racist" HP Webcam

Consumer Reports decided to test the now famous “racist” HP webcam for themselves, being product testers and all, to see if they could replicate the problem or even find a solution to it. The solution: the webcam needs foreground light to function, and the more pigment in your skin, the closer you seem to have to sit. [More]

Relax, Toy Hamsters Not Metalloid Death Bringers After All

Relax, Toy Hamsters Not Metalloid Death Bringers After All

You can dig up that bag of Zhu Zhus from your backyard and re-wrap them for the kids again. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that the robot hamsters are not loaded with too much antimony after all, despite claims made by the website GoodGuide. [More]

Mattel, Primary Reason For Toy Safety Law, Gets Exempted From It

Mattel, Primary Reason For Toy Safety Law, Gets Exempted From It

When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.

Consumer Reports Evaluates Cool Surge Portable Air Cooler, Made By Same Folks Who Brought You The ìAmish Heaterî


The company behind the “Amish man’s new miracle idea”—a heater—is back! Here’s Consumer Reports’ evaluation of the Cool Surge.