Public Health

Clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe, nutritious food to eat, and a healthy planet to grow it on. These are the foundations of a healthy life.

We’re committed to a vision of a healthier future. A future where all families and communities have access to clean air and safe drinking water. Where the food we eat is not only good for us, but it’s grown in ways that are good for the planet. A future where we are secure in the knowledge that we can all lead healthy lives.

Risks To Our Health

Unfortunately, there are many problems today that put our health at risk, and threaten the land upon which our health depends. Problems we just shouldn’t tolerate in this day and age.

• It makes no sense to gamble with the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics, just so the food industry can use them to raise cheaper beef and pork. Not when it’s estimated that millions of people are sickened, and 160,000 people die, from antibiotic-resistant infections every year in the United States.

• Some medical experts estimate that more than 24 million American kids will lose IQ points due to lead exposure, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund research finds many of those kids will be exposed to lead in their school drinking water. This is a problem we can fix.  

• In this great country, shouldn’t agricultural policies make it easier for farmers to raise their crops sustainably, instead of promoting unhealthy chemically-intensive farming that risks our health, and the health of the planet?

Photos: branislavpudar /, staff, Beverly Jensen
Our Approach

Our campaigns to protect public health share a common approach.

Build a healthier future. Everyone deserves access to clean, safe drinking water, fresh air and nutritious food that won’t put our health at risk. And we should be able to grow our food in ways that leave the land healthier than we found it. Through our advocacy and organizing, we’re working to make sure our state, national and municipal policies reflect those priorities. And we’re working to organize support behind this common sense point of view.

Focus on concrete change. To ensure a healthier future, we need to make progress now, one step at a time. Our focus is on making a difference in public policy and in our lives, not just making a statement.

Figure out what works. We’ve successfully advocated for banning asbestos in building materials, for shutting down incinerators that pollute our communities, for major corporations like KFC to end the sale of chicken raised on life-saving antibiotics. We have a 45-plus year track record of figuring out solutions that will work, and advocating for them until we get results.

Find common ground. Even in this deeply divided moment, all Americans want a healthier, safer, more secure future. Our advocates in Washington, D.C., seek out common ground and work with members of Congress from both parties. Our advocates in the states build coalitions that include farmers, restaurant owners, doctors and nurses, religious leaders, and people from all walks of life. Our organizers and canvassers engage literally hundreds of thousands of people. Our members and activists live in all 50 states.

Ask Burger Chains to Follow McDonald's Lead

The more consumer demand for change there is, the faster other burger chains will follow McDonald's lead and commit to reducing antibiotic use in their beef supply chains. You can help by taking action today. Sign our petition calling on the CEOs of major burger chains to commit to phasing routine antibiotic use out of their entire meat supply chain.