Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toxic Products

It's hard to miss all the toy recalls these days due to lead paint and other unsafe chemicals being used in the manufacturing of toys, mainly from China. This is obviously disturbing, especially for the parents of young children who are at the sucking-on-everything age. But another aspect of this issue is the pressure that these Chinese companies feel to reduce costs, and so they substitute lower-cost and less safe materials in their processing. We, as Americans, demand lower and lower costs (i.e. Walmart, Target, etc. etc.). In order to create goods at less cost, something eventually has to give. Already much of the manufacturing no longer takes place in the U.S. because of higher costs, and goods are made overseas at lower cost. But now we are paying the price.

I was walking around the Christmas Tree Shops today, and while I often find it an odd experience ("don't you just love a bargain?") looking at all the cheap merchandise, today I actually felt fear. As I looked at the brightly colored items for sale (dishes, toys, decorative items), I couldn't help thinking: some of these items are made from toxic chemicals, and we're being sold them cheaply with no thought of our health. It wasn't a very fun trip shopping today.

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