Friday, October 3, 2008

Are Chinese goods a good choice or a dangerous one?

The US has pumpkins, with pumpkin seeds inside, and pine cones to get pine nuts from, why then are we having these shipped from across the globe? Long distance sources are a waste of fuel and energy, which is never a good solution. Even South America is a better choice-- less far to ship these and many many other items. Doesn't Mexico have pumpkins or pine cones? If we want to outsource labor, why not get goods from more local neighbors, like Canada and South America at least?

Which brings up my first health-related point: The more local the source, the less fuel and energy used in transport and storage. Even if the product is more expensive locally, choosing local saves the planet in terms of the above mentioned costs.

So, that brings up my second point: Why are local goods more expensive than the Chinese counterparts? They are more expensive because labor is higher and quality controls are stricter. Amercans have a standard of living wage, other popular manufacturing countries do not have a standard of living for their people. You've heard of sweat shops? What do you think is happening in those Chinese factories? Saving money outsourcing to another country where the net gain is overwhelmingly to them, degrades our financial state, whether it be to lose money from the trade imbalance or to lose money by people losing those jobs here.

But, health-wise, costs are higher here because we have more controls on quality. China has demonstrated NO compunction about what materials they use-- even if those materials cause DEATH!!! Short of death, Chinese officials have openly stated no concern, 'we don't understand why there is such a concern of this product making people ill, it hasn't killed anyone.' A recent story discussed China producing two sets of goods in some factories. On the one side, goods to go to Europe, which has strict toxin controls on imports. On the other side of the factory, toxic goods to go to America! What does that mean? It means, for instance, that on the toxin side of the factory they used high-benzene lubricants to produce goods. Have you noticed how smelly our stores have gotten now that they are filled to about 90+% Chinese goods? That smell is from VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde, very toxic to humans. And in stores where the smell isn't very evident, have you noticed that recently stores have a seriously high-powered filtration system running? Very nice to have the air cleaned indeed, but why is America allowing these goods in? Surely you've heard of the toys recalled because they had toxic levels of lead? At least in that case, the US did have controls.

And, there's my third point-- experience. Chinese-made toothpaste was recalled because they had substituted glycerol for glycerine. Glycerol being a lubricant best left for machine oiling than human consumption. People got sick and the product was pulled. There were pet deaths along with pets sickened with liver damage by petfood using melamine (a wood product). Melamine is high in protein, so Chinese manufacturers are found to use it to save money in place of real food ingredients to increase the protein content of packaged foods. Never mind that it isn't for consumption and kills! The producers knew it wasn't safe for ingestion and they didn't care. Profit was the only concern! So, it is even more eggregious recently when a Chinese manufacturer used melamine to boost protein analysis in milk formula for babies!!! 54,000 babies internationally are now sick, before this on-purpose act was dealt with! Was this simply a cost-cutting measure???

I want to give you a hint of something I've learned right now-- DON'T USE ANY PRODUCTS SPECIFIC TO BABIES OR PREGNANT WOMEN. These are invariably HIGHER toxic content then the non-specific ones sitting on shelves right next to them. Manufacturers are NOT looking out for your health. They are NOT benevolant! You must take care of yourself, yourself!

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