Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chinese Junk

When is this country going to learn not to buy things made in China? Haven’t we learned from the problems we’ve had with shoddy and dangerous products made there? The reason I mention this is that I recently read in the AARP Bulletin (Dec. 2009, Vol. 50, No. 10, page 8) that there have been problems with houses built using Chinese-made drywall. Can’t we even make our own sheetrock these days?!
Apparently this sheetrock contains chemicals that cause corrosion. Appliances have corroded, hinges have rusted, TVs have failed, and there have been health issues for people living in these houses. The article estimates that 60,000 – 100,000 houses may be affected, mainly in Louisiana, Florida and Virginia. No definitive link between the drywall and these problems has been established, but the EPA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission are investigating.

Another frightening thought is that dietary supplements are not labeled as to the country of origin of ingredients. My wife and I investigated one particular supplement (a multivitamin) and found out that the ingredients came from many different countries, including China. Quite frankly, I don’t want to ingest anything made in China given their track record.

Speaking of poisons, I recently learned anecdotally that mattresses must be made to withstand a certain amount of heat before catching fire. This means all kinds of chemicals are used in the manufacturing of these mattresses. Yes, you may not burn to death on a mattress, but you’ll die of cancer! How many bed fires are there vs. how many deaths are caused by the chemicals they are using in mattresses? Makes you wonder. Another misguided government mandate designed to “protect” us.

Bottom line: be an informed consumer, and look at the country of origin. Try not to buy anything made in China if there is an alternative (and sometimes there isn’t). Let’s buy quality American-made goods instead of less expensive but inferior (and maybe dangerous) Chinese-made goods. “You get what you pay for,” my mother always said, and she was right.

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