Thursday, September 13, 2007

Through A Glass Clearly,

by Athanasius

In recent weeks there have been numerous recalls on Chinese products, especially toys because they had lead paint. Consumers have complained for years of Chinese goods soaked in formaldehyde, clothes sprayed with pesticides, and seafood raised in sewage. It is right and good for Americans to take a serious look at Chinese business practices, however it might do us well to have a look at our own.

It is rather like the concern over MSG in Chinese food. In the 1980's, everyone complained about Monosodium-Glutamate in Chinese food, and as a result many Chinese restaurants now advertise that their food is MSG free. This is excellent. However, has anyone looked at the extent to which MSG is used in American food by American restaurants? Just buy a bag of fried chicken at the grocery store and look at the ingredients, in the middle of the nomenclature, you will find MSG.
In fact upon closer inspection of stock and bullion cubes, you will also find MSG in the ingredients. Seasoning packets and gravy powders have the same. If you got ingredients from many restaurants, you would find MSG among them, and has anyone asked about pizza crusts? Yet no one thinks about that, they think about Chinese food.

This is very similar to what we see with Chinese goods. It is true that China not only engages in de facto slave labor, is a partner in the sex slave trade, and does not have American interests at heart (understandably, as they are Chinese not American), but they are also guilty of the safety and health violations that have produced so many recalls. Yet what is going on with products made elsewhere? Consider clothes for example.

Most are completely soaked in formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen (i.e. cancer causing) and is absorbable through the skin. While causing cancer, allergies, and killing brain cells, formaldehyde also tends to give textiles that wrinkle free effect. Hence, they are prevalent in the textile industry. While rightfully raising concerns about Chinese goods and textiles, we should realize that right here in the USA, we take our clothes to the dry cleaners, which also use unsafe chemicals. Traditional dry cleaning makes use of a chemical solvent, called perchloroethylene, to remove stains. That is the same chemical used in rocket fuel. The residue of this solvent is toxic to humans; in fact, many people experience adverse reactions from dry-cleaned clothing as dizziness, headache, sinus congestion, and shortness of breath. Perchloroethylene has also been found to cause cancer in animals.

But they save money, so everything else be damned.

Furthermore, before going out to the store, mall, or wherever you use your credit cards, consider that many companies we routinely buy from have formaldehyde in their products:

• Dove® Deep Moisture Body Wash
• L'Oreal® Lash Out Mascara
• Zeasorb® Super Absorbent Foot Powder
• Baby Magic® Gentle Baby Bath
• Revlon® Professional Cuticle Remover
• Hagen Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats
• Phisoderm® Deep Cleaning Cleanser
• Blush By Cover Girl®
• Pond’s® Dry Skin Cream
• Huggies® Natural Care Baby Wipes
• Cover Girl® Simply Powder Foundation
• Hagen Tearless Shampoo for Dogs. - Source

Thus, while rightly condemning toxins in Chinese products, we should also not turn a blind eye to what companies closer to home are doing as well. In trying to establish a sensible stewardship of the environment, without the global warming hysteria, and to get man closer to the earth and into a healthier lifestyle, we should be looking for alternatives to the scourge of chemicals in our products and our environment.


Red-Beard said...

Interesting article, thanks.

The Scylding said...

I realise the post is dated by now - but I'll comment anyway. Because of the over-use of chemicals, we prefer to use Body Shop products, which also engage in fair trade. And they are certainly not inferior to others.