Foreign Product Safety
April 1st, 2008
85 million toys recalled last year. Is it too much to ask that our kid’s toys not be dangerous? And that is just the toxins that we know about because the harm was apparent immediately. What about on the issues with chemicals that take years to show up?
What can we do? None of the toys recalled were made in the USA. These small manufacturers understand safety standards and liability.
There are over 50 American made toys at http://www.madeinusaforever.com/toys.html and more being added often. You can easily go to the manufacturer’s websites from there.
The big chain stores would like us to think we do not have a choice, but at the moment we still do.
If I have anything to say about it, we always will.
February 28th, 2008
More concerns over the imported active ingredient in Baxtor’s Heparin drug thinner have come up recently. Several deaths are potentially linked to impurities in ingredients coming from Chinese subcontractors. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese government yesterday indicated “safeguarding the legality, quality, and safety of active drug ingredients lies with the importing nation”. Apparently meant to shift the blame for improper production to the buyer no matter what the local product safety conditions are like. Buyer beware with lives at stake? I am quite certain they would have a different opinion if the problems were coming from America to China, but naturally that is hardly likely to happen.
Folks should check with their doctor if they are concerned about this medication.
Baxtor does own a Chinese supplier of this ingredient, but the production of the key active ingredient is farmed out to many subcontractors, who extract it from pig’s intestines. The FDA had not visited Baxtor’s Chinese site, and frankly would have been hard pressed to see more than a few subcontractors. Baxtor at least shares the blame as they must more closely control every medication ingredient’s source. The low ingredient price in itself should have been a warning to them.
Clearly U.S. companies sourcing from China, etc. should be very careful, as the reality is a lot of the heavy work is done by small subcontractors with little regard for product safety standards. This is true of not just medications and food, but also of products with dyes or other chemicals in products like toys or clothing.
The truth is we are only seeing these stories when chemicals or impurities show up immediately because people get sick or die. Those chemicals that take years to have an effect, like cause cancer, are hardly being checked. The best thing to do is buy from nations that are known to follow basic product safety standards. Everything at www.MadeinUSAForever.com is made in the U.S.A.
February 8th, 2008
This week charges were brought against three companies for importing the poisons ingredients that ended up in many pet food products, killing many animals cherished by their families.
The ingredients were from China. Of the three companies indicted so far, two are in China and one America. The one in America is owned by a Chinese national.
The only reason these contaminants were noticed was that it had a rapid effect on the poor animals, in many cases causing painful kidney failure. As with the toys, what is not understood widely yet is that many chemical impurities have a much longer term effect. It may take years after exposure to cause cancer.
We see the effect of lead in the toys and poison in the pet food relatively rapidly and are somewhat able to react, but who is testing imported items for chemical agents that cause issues years down the road? For instance the dye in clothing? At this point, the government should broadly, but is actually testing almost none.
Of the eighty toy recalls last year, none were manufactured in America, because companies that manufacture here follow certain safety standards that are ignored in some countries. At www.MadeinUSAForever.com, all products are made in the USA. It is the only way to be sure.
January 14th, 2008
I was disappointed yesterday to get home from the dentist and find that the “free” toothbrush and floss kit was actually made in China. One would think after the huge fiasco with poison in the Chinese toothpaste that they would be a little more careful. He must have got those kits very inexpensively, but probably has not considered the liability or customer reaction. I will definitely mention it to him. Please keep an eye out for such things. Just because it is from someone in the medical field does not make it safe or right.
November 11th, 2007
This week saw another massive recall of toys. In the USA 4.7 million units of the game Aquadots were recalled, after children in Australia got sick, including several going into a coma after eating the beads included in the product.
Colorful beads that look like candy. For those of us with kids, you know they are going in the mouth.
They were made in China. Initial reports indicate that a subcontractor intentionally use a cheaper chemical to make the beads. Unfortunately, it was toxic.
In America, that would be criminal negligence, and someone would not only be libel, but go to jail. Unfortunately, it is just another day in many countries.
Companies are fully aware of this issue when they push production of their products to these countries. They probably get assurances from contract manufacturers about the quality and make a few daylight visits to see the site where they assume the product is actually being made. Trouble is that cost is the only advantage these contract manufacturers have, and to win that bid they probably needed to cut corners. Subcontractors will be used that have even less issue with using cheaper components, like for the chemical dyes or paints.
The issue is not limited to toys, but is also common in the food and clothing produced in these nations. Do you think they are checking for toxins when they source the cheapest supply?
What percent is actually checked at the border? 10% or 1%? Try almost none. Problems are only caught when folks start getting sick. How do we catch the toxic products that cause issues 20 years down the road? Keep in mind this issue is not limited to toys. It can come through exposure in items we eat, touch, or wear.
Toys have got a lot of press lately, but it is the tip of the iceberg. Once imports are really put under the microscope, we will find heavy amounts of toxins in many, many imported food and clothing products. The one way to be certain now is to only buy products from countries that actually abide by normal product safety laws.
Is that cheap product really worth it in the end?