American children are being poisoned by Chinese-made toys, many of our beloved pets were killed by tainted wheat gluten imported from China, and for years, greedy U.S. companies have been abandoning American workers in favor of slave labor factories located in China. The question is...When will we the consumers, say enough?
Late this past summer, the news broke over great numbers of Chinese children becoming very ill after ingesting milk and baby formula manufactured in that country. It was later learned that the dangerous chemical melamine had been added to the products. The addition of melamine causes the product to artificially appear to have a much higher protein content.
Recently, a spokesman for the World Health Organization said that the enormity of the crisis proved that it was “clearly not an isolated accident, [but] a large-scale intentional activity to deceive consumers for simple, basic, short-term profits.”
To date, at least six infants have died due to kidney stones and kidney failure (a typical side effect of melamine ingestion).
The tainted milk products were shipped to 32 nations including the United States and Canada. Because of this contamination, manufacturers Nestle and Cadbury have been forced to recall many of their products throughout the world.
In November 2008, the Chinese government announced that the tainted formula, and other related products had affected 300,000 victims.
Last Christmas season, the product known as Aqua Dots was recalled when several children in the United States as well as abroad became violently ill and slipped into comas after sucking on or swallowing the tiny beads. The “Dots” were manufactured in China with a chemical which converts to GHB (gamma-hydroxy butyrate), commonly known as the ‘date-rape drug,’ once ingested. The craft toy was sold mostly at Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us stores.
The day before the much talked-about Aqua Dots recall, the government announced a recall of 405,000 toys, most of which were toy cars due to toxic levels of lead. Included in the recall were 308,000 Pull-Back Action Toy Cars imported and sold by Dollar General, wind-up toys, music boxes, toy robots, Winnie-the-Pooh Spinning Tops, and 7,200 “Big Red” wagons imported and sold by Northern Tool & Equipment Co.
In September 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled one million Simplicity brand cribs which were made in China. The recall came after a 6-month-old and a 9-month-old baby became pinned and died in the cribs due to a defect. Several more children became trapped in the cribs but survived.
Despite the potential danger that comes with many Chinese-made products, American consumers continue to buy products with the “Made in China” label in huge numbers. In 2006, the U.S. had a trade deficit with China which amounted to $232 billion. In 2007, that figure grew to $256 billion. As of October 2008, this year’s deficit had already reached $233 billion and is on pace to beat last year’s number.
The following list represents only a small fraction of the imported Chinese products recalled between 2007-2008:
teddy bears (Walgreen’s recalled the stuffed animals which came with a chocolate bar, found to contain the dangerous chemical melamine)
cookies ( Lotte USA Inc. imported the cookies sold as Koala’s March Crème Filled Cookies which contained melamine)
candy (QFCO Inc. imported White Rabbit Candy which was found to contain melamine, the candies were distributed in CA, GA, HI, IL, MN, NY, OR, TX, WA)
baby overalls (imported by Samarra Brothers, metal snaps contained toxic levels of lead)
ceramic heaters (Family Dollar Stores imported the heaters which overheated and gave off toxic smoke)
hair dryers (Metropolis Beauty imported travel hair dryers which had no electric shock protection devices as required for all hand-held dryers)
remote controls (Best Buy recalled 10,000 Insignia DVD Player remotes after they were found to overheat and cause burns)
children’s jewelry (rings imported by Rachel Rose Kidz which contained high levels of lead)
batteries (JAKKS Pacific recalled 240,000 battery packs made for toy cars after reports started pouring in about the batteries bursting into flames)
lamps (Currey &Company imported lamps with defective light sockets that presented fire and shock hazards)
art sets (Toys “R” Us recalled 27,000 Wooden Coloring Cases which were found to contain toxic levels of lead)
bicycles (imported by Target Stores were recalled after it was discovered that the bike frames were easily broken)
easels (Distant Learning School Supply imported chalkboard easels which contained toxic levels of lead)
baby seat (Infant Bouncer Seats imported by Oeuf LLC were recalled after reports of the metal frames breaking began to surface)
toothpaste (the FDA discovered that many brands of Chinese-made toothpaste contained diethylene glycol (antifreeze) and caused kidney and liver failure)
tires (Foreign Tire Sales in New Jersey recalled 450,000 tires manufactured in Hangzhou, China posed a serious safety hazard due to tread separation)
key chains (Dollar General recalled 400,000 key chains which contained toxic levels of lead)
heaters (Holmes Group was forced to recall 300,000 heaters which contained faulty
wiring and presented a serious fire hazard)
baby clothes (Disney Stores imported sleepwear which failed to meet U.S. flammability standards)
According to China Labor Watch, 80 percent of the $22.3 billion of toys sold in this country are manufactured in China. All of the major U.S. toy companies have turned to cheap Chinese labor to produce their toys. As a result, American factory jobs are becoming non-existent and our children are being poisoned. The importation of so many cheaply-made toys from China is in fact a lose-lose situation for Americans.
What inspired (or angered) me to write this piece was an article about the safety of Chinese products, which I ran across in my local paper (Virginian-Pilot). The reporter went to a Toys “R” Us store and asked shoppers for their reaction to the vast number of recalls on Chinese toys. Michele Malana had just purchased the Hi! Ho! Cherry-O game for her 3-year-old son. Though the box reported that components of the game were made in China, Malana somewhat reluctantly bought it anyway and made the following statement to the reporter: “If I ever got brave enough, I’d do nothing made in China.”
So Americans are no longer “brave enough” to stop buying Chinese-made toys?
Ours is a people who gained our independence from the British empire, discovered penicillin, invented the airplane, went to the Moon, defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan, and won the Cold War and now we do not have the sense nor the courage to tell China to go to hell? China has put antifreeze in our toothpaste, poisoned thousands of our pets, and exposed our children to toxic levels of lead...How many of us have to become ill or die before we put a stop to this by refusing to purchase anything made in China?
Stores such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us and companies such as Mattel and Hasbro will continue to import cheap Chinese goods because by doing so, they nearly eliminate all labor costs in the manufacturing process. These corporations have betrayed both the American worker as well as the American consumer.
Only the American consumer can put an end to this madness by supporting not only American industries, but those of our true allies as well.