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Deadly Chinese Junk

06/08/07

Opinion By Nurse Mark

No, I'm not talking about a traditional Chinese sailing vessel carrying wild-eyed pirates.

The Chinese are far more sophisticated than that these days, though they still provide death and misery to the unwary via ocean-going ships. Container after container, shipload after shipload of these substandard, toxin-filled, pesticide, chemical, and bacteria laden products and foodstuffs are flooding to our shores, and while it seems that the best the FDA can do is play "catch-up", a careful examination of their website reveals that their inspectors are indeed finding at least some of these shipments and turning them back before they can harm Americans.

According to recent articles published by The World Net Daily there were 257 refusals to allow entry of Chinese products in April of this year alone. By comparison 140 refusals of Mexican products were made and 23 from Canada.

Foodstuffs intended for human consumption were turned back because of contamination with pesticides, known carcinogens, antibiotics, banned drugs, and bacteria in addition to what the FDA lists simply as "Filthy" - by which they mean "The article appears to consist in whole or in part of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food."

Other foods have been mislabeled - such as the "Monkfish" which was not turned away recently and caused illnesses and hospitalization because it was in fact suspected to be puffer fish - a fish known to contain a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Other seafood is being "farmed" in water contaminated with raw sewage and sent to us containing banned antibiotics, pesticides, and even covered with putrefying bacteria (that is to say, rotting).

Toothbrushes have been found to be mislabeled, and of course there is the recent contamination of Chinese export toothpaste with diethylene glycol. The Chinese government continues to deny that there is any danger with this chemical, commonly used in antifreeze but widely known (at least in the rest of the world) to be very toxic if ingested.

Now we are seeing reports of new threats: There are now new concerns reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the Food and Drug Administration toys, makeup, glazed pottery and other products that contain significant amounts of lead. Lead, once used in paint in the US has been long-banned because it can cause learning disabilities, kidney failure, anemia and irreversible brain damage in children. The Chinese apparently don't know or don't care about these dangers for many of these poisonous products are marketed directly to children - cheap gee-gaws and trinkets sold for change in vending machines, cheap costume jewelry promoting and celebrating children's movies,  and cheap eye shadow which was found not only to contain high amounts of lead but was also contaminated with what the FDA described as "microbiological contamination."

Children's metal jewelry, toy drums, action figures, gardening gloves, bamboo game toys, sidewalk chalk - all containing high lead levels, all marketed to children, all recalled, all made in China.

It seems nothing is safe - Chinese contact lens solution has been found to be contaminated with "bacterial parasites" and has caused a number of eye infections in American consumers as a result.

And of course there is probably no one who has not heard of the melamine-tainted pet foods that have been found to be so widely distributed here by manufacturers eager to buy cheap "protein" from China.

And where is the FDA through all of this? To be fair, they are finding some of these problems and refusing them entry to the US, as their own records show. However, officials say that inspectors can only examine about one percent of the food that reaches our shores from foreign countries, which means that much of this contaminated junk makes it all the way to our retailers shelves and to your family's table.

Why should this be? Is it because the FDA inspectors are busy harassing herbs and vitamins and supplements? Are they stretched thin in our ports because they are so busy raiding our alternative health practitioners and health food stores, searching out such deadly items as stevia or ephedra or tryptophan? Are they too busy protecting and defending their financial masters, Big Pharma from any threat to profits posed by natural medicine to have time left to protect their true masters, American taxpayers?

One can only guess.

In the meantime, it is high time that Americans begin to insist on better quality, even if it comes at the expense of higher prices. It is time Americans take a very critical look at where their products come from, and how they are made.

We at the Wellness Club are not against buying some products from foreign countries. Our CoEnzyme Q10 comes from Japan - known to produce the best in the world. Our Glucosamine Sulfate comes from Canada - the only supplier in the world that holds the patent to produce this super-absorbable, super-effective form of glucosamine. We know where our products come from, and where the ingredients in our formulations come from, and we quality-assure them every step of the way from the producer to you. We are also very eager to "Buy American" whenever possible - for we believe that our money is better spent at home, and in our own country where we have a better "handle" on quality and purity.

Perhaps it is time to revive some of the "Buy American" campaigns from the past, when Americans were extolled to Buy American, support American workers, American farmers, and American Businesses, and to keep American dollars in America.

Buying American products, made in American factories and plants and shops from American made components supports our friends and neighbors as well as our country's economy. It also goes a long way toward protecting our health and safety from these cheap shoddy, contaminated goods from elsewhere.

In the wake of these recent scandals and revelations about contaminated Chinese junk I will remind myself when I shop to be more conscious of where the things I buy are coming from.

I am willing to pay a premium for quality American made goods - are you?


References:

The World Net Daily: "Is China trying to poison Americans and their pets? U.S. market flooded with foods unfit for humans, tainted with carcinogens, pesticides, bacteria, drugs"  http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55892

Refusal Actions by FDA as Recorded in OASIS for China (Mainland) (April 2007) http://www.fda.gov/ora/oasis/ora_oasis_viol.html#249

FDA Violation Code translation: : http://www.fda.gov/ora/oasis/4/ora_oasis_c_cn.html

FDA Warning on Mislabeled Monkfish: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01639.html

US CPSC May 2007 Recalls and Product Safety News http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelmay07.html

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