November 20th, 2009
According to an AP article cited on Yahoo.com (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091117/ap_on_bi_ge/us_toxic_toys), dangerous levels of lead were found in seven randomly separate toys sold at Walgreens, Target, and Wal-Mart by The Center for Environmental Health out of 250 tested. That is 2.8% of those tested.
The toys included Mattel , and one each labeled with Barbie and Disney. You can see the article for specifics. None of the toys cited as having high lead are made in the USA. All of the toys mentioned are foreign produced, mostly from China.
A total of 83 million toys were recalled in 2007 (all foreign, 80% from China), at which point toy importers and large retail chains promised to do take ownership of this issue. How little things really change…
Companies like Mattel are toy importer, not really a maker since they contract out production to foreign suppliers, mostly in China, who in turn farm out production to subcontractors and so on. At the subcontractor level, quality control becomes less of an issue than cost. Yet another dangerous side effect of allowing our industrial base to be shipped abroad.
Is 2.8% of imported toys really significant? Simply put, a family with three kids that receive a total of 10 toys each would have nearly a one in three chance of getting a toy with dangerous levels of lead in it. If three such families live on your street, statistically one would have a dangerous, lead tainted toy in their household. That one toy could expose lead to all three children in that household and any child that visits!
Unfortunately, or perhaps I should say inexplicably, no one is at the border or ports opening cargo containers checking for dangerous toxins. This study only checked for lead, ignoring Mercury, etc. that could also pose a health threat. When will we put our children’s safety first?
Naturally, 2.8% becomes zero percent if USA made toys are given.
Founder of MadeinUSAForever.com
November 6th, 2009
CIT is probably the largest lending institution hardly anyone seems to have heard of. It is not a bank with branches on every corner like, Bank of America or Citibank. However, it is a very large lender to small and medium size businesses. According to last Monday’s Wall Street Journal, CIT is a lender to nearly a million such businesses. It provides vital liquidity that allows many to purchase inventory, invest in equipment, even make payroll during off times of the year.
Before I continue, let me clarify that MadeinUSAForever.com, which I founded and own, is not affected by the CIT bankruptcy. It has no debt, and is fully funded by myself and revenue generated from product sales. My concern is for the hundreds of thousands of other business affected.
CIT filed for bankruptcy last Sunday. The good news is it is expected to survive and emerge from bankruptcy a much smaller, but at least viable firm. The bad news is thousands of businesses have already been frozen out of normal lending, and hundreds of thousands of others will shortly find themselves without a willing lender.
Credit is still very hard to get, not just for people but also for businesses, as financial institutions react to the economic downturn. CIT going into a coma and shrinking drastically means many businesses will suddenly face much higher interest rates if they can borrow at all. For example, for a business considering a factory expansion that wants to borrow $10 million, they could easily see an extra $500,000 in interest expenses in this climate without CIT. That is a high hurdle that few will make it past, meaning new jobs associated with such projects will not be created.
Worse yet, those business already facing hard times with revenue dropping in this economy may find themselves facing layoffs or even closures.
Since small and medium sized businesses create 70% of new jobs, this is a very serious issue for the economy and our nation. The media has not caught on, but the shockwave from this situation could easily destroy or put off more jobs than the 600k+ supposedly “created or saved” by the government’s stimulus plan.
Cash availability is vital to small and medium sized businesses, which in turn are the only real option for creating enough good jobs to pull us out of recession. This issue must be addressed.
Founder of www.MadeinUSAForever.com, your source for made in USA products.