Made in China - Cheap and Deadly

If it wasn't for the paper place-mat at my favorite Chinese Restaurant and the recall of almost 20 million items made in China I would never have known that 2007 was the year of the pig. The American middle class is more dependent on cheap Chinese made products than we are on Saudi oil. During this holiday season Americans will help fatten the wallets of companies like Mattel who was forced to recall almost 20 million items made in China in 2007 because of lead paint on toy cars and tiny magnets that could be deadly if swallowed. Lead paint was also found in 844,000 Barbie accessories and toys with the Sesame Street brand. Barbie? Sesame Street? Is anything sacred? These toys are American institutions. Watching your 2 year old suck on the neck of a decapitated Barbie is every Americans right. You think Oscar is grouchy now?

As if poisoning our kids wasn't enough China also went after our pets. Pet food makers recalled more than 60 million cans of dog food made in China laced with tainted melamine in wheat gluten. Now I know that in China dogs are a mans best food but people in the humane world cherish their dogs and cats. The pet food scandal has prompted many Americans to actually read the labels of what they are feeding their pets. Organic pet food made in America has experienced a huge growth in sales. Hopefully some day packs of wild dogs will roam the empty streets of Beijing.

Besides killing our pets and young children China also wants to help our teenagers to look better and feel better by supplying them with steroids, human growth hormones, and other bodybuilding drugs. A huge underground distribution network was traced to 37 companies in China.

Nike recalled 235,000 football helmets because the chin cup has a defective strap and caused at least two concussions and a broken nose. Okay, now they've gone too far! Messing with football is almost like messing with baseball. Sure supplying baseball and football players with steroids is bad but sabotaging the equipment that protects the drug-addicted overpaid prima-donna professional athletes we idolize is stepping over the goal line. Who is going to endorse toothpaste made in China laced with ethylene glycol which is widely use as auto antifreeze? Who will be on Chinese-made lunch boxes containing lead that were given away by the California Department of Public Health to promote healthy eating habits among American children?

With pressure from the American government the Chinese government finally responded. On July 10, 2007 Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China's State Food And Drug Administration was executed by shooting. Obviously something must have been lost in translation when President Bush told the Chinese premier that, "Something must be done" which was mistaken for "shoot him with a gun". After his execution he was charged with taking bribes from various firms in exchange for state licenses related to product safety. He was found guilty and re-executed.

The trade agreement with China is grossly one sided. The United States is not producing goods outside of very few high tech areas and Americans continue to spend on cheaply made Chinese products.

Every time I look at the label of something that I have bought it always seems to be made in China. "Made in America" has almost become extinct. I recently called my congressman to complain but the call was outsourced to India. I got a nice guy named Davesh who was very sympathetic and referred to me as "Buddy". Only in America. The phrase "Only in America" was made in China.

Richard Raciti

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