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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Made-in-China label may also be deadly

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Two weeks ago I wrote of my frustration trying to find an American-made product in a store. Despite repeated attempts, I found virtually nothing but Chinese-made products. The companies producing the retail items were American firms but the products themselves were made in China.

That revelation upset me. Well now, I'm just damned mad. Fisher-Price this week recalled a million preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor because of high levels of lead paint in the products. Among the items were the popular Elmo, Big Bird, Dora and Diego line of toys.

Just two weeks ago I bought my granddaughter a Dora toy for her second birthday. Like millions of kids, she thinks Dora is about the neatest thing on earth.

And so now I worry that maybe I have somehow caused that precious angel to be exposed to some toxic substance.

My first reaction is to firmly pledge and swear to never buy a product made in China again. But who's kidding who? That would have no impact whatsoever. So what if everyone reading this column made the same vow? That too would not get the attention of one single manufacturer. Taking this to the extreme, what if every single Missourian made the pledge to shun Chinese products. Again, it would not have an impact.

So reluctantly, we must turn to our lawmakers. They and they alone have the power to change this miserable trade policy that siphons our dollars, kills our jobs and now, perhaps threatens our health.

National health experts said Friday that parents should consider having their children take a blood test for lead exposure if they are concerned about the possible contamination from these toys. Lead paint was banned in this country over 30 years ago. But apparently the Chinese operate under different guidelines. That's fine with me but they don't need to send their products here then.

These "Made in China" products hit all of us in the pocketbook. But when it may impact my granddaughter and yours, that hits me in the heart. And I get mad.

So Rep. Emerson, Sen. Bond, Sen. McCaskill and the rest of you, listen carefully. We the people are holding you personally accountable on this issue. It makes me sick when I cannot find an American-made product. And the corporations that fire American workers so that Chinese workers can produce their products should be held accountable as well.

Stop Chinese-made products from entering this country until we can be assured they are safe. That's the top item on the agenda. And then explain to the companies who out-source their jobs just how they are impacting our lives. We the people can protest. You, however, have the power to make these changes.

If - Mr. and Mrs. Lawmaker - you cannot accomplish this simple request, then you will not get my vote. If I'm not incorrect, you work for us and we will fire you if you cannot do your job.

When you tinker with American jobs, you should be ashamed. When you tinker with my granddaughter's health, you will have hell to pay.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen