- Hello Jeff - The product list below is not a complete
list, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Let us not forget the faulty
electric blankets, coffee pots, lead-painted toys, easy bake oven with
fire hazard, dyes that contain toxic chemicals, toxic cellophane tape dispensers
and many, many other products.
- I worry about the deadly products that are on our store
shelves and have not yet been identified as faulty.
- Are Chinese Products Slowly Killing Us?
- I commend the industriousness of the Chinese because
that has made Chinese goods and services available around the world. Globally,
China has become an economic power because it has succeeded in capturing
the world market with its products. The Chinese reached such an economic
power position through hard work, not through luck. In Ghana, almost every
item on the market is "Made in China." Though it is an issue
to worry about, this article is not about the fact that importing goods
deprives Ghanaians existing and future jobs. It is about whether imported
Chinese goods are slowly killing Ghanaians. I'll leave that to the reader
to decide. Here, let's consider the record of some Chinese-made products...
- In June 2004, Chinese authorities issued an emergency
recall of a brand of milk powder after it sickened more than 150 schoolchildren.
Children at three kindergartens in the southern province of Guizhou suffered
vomiting, diarrhea and fever after drinking milk made from the powder,
which contained staphylococcus bacteria. The product in question is Shanhua-brand
milk powder produced by the Guiyang Sanlian Milk Company.
- November 2004, a New York City company recalled two Chinese
herbal supplements because they contained a carcinogen linked to kidney
disease. Kingsway Trading Inc. of Brooklyn recalled its dietary pills,
Double Deers Formula brand Expellin Extract (Concentrated) and Cardioflex.
The company said it stopped distribution of these products when it was
notified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they contained
aristolochic acid, a carcinogen and toxin found in plants that is associated
with some cases of kidney failure and an increased risk of kidney cancer.
- Then in December 2004, Starway Incorporated of U.S.A.
recalled Red Diamond brand Dried Chinese Vegetable because the product
contained undeclared sulfites. People who have severe sensitivity to sulfites
run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume
this product. Also in December, the FDA seized ginseng imported from China
because of dangerous residues of pesticides.
- In June 2005, the Food and Drug Administration placed
restrictions on imports of Chinese shrimp, catfish, eel, basa and dace
after finding residues of drugs the FDA does not allow in fish.
- Then in December, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
announced a voluntary recall of about 144,000 plastic siren whistles manufactured
in China. According to American authorities, the internal pieces of the
recalled plastic siren whistle easily detached from the toy and posed a
choking hazard to children. This was after the importer and distributor
of the product received four reports of children choking and three reports
of children swallowing pieces of the plastic siren whistle.
- Again, in December 2005, Dell Computers recalled made-in-China
batteries installed in about 22,000 notebook computers in the United States.
The batteries were found to overheat, and posed fire risk. The recalled
batteries were sold with the following Dell notebook computers: Latitude
D410, D505, D510, D600, D610, D800, D810; Inspiron 510M, 600M, 6000, 8600,
9200, 9300, XPS Gen 2; and Dell Precision M20 and M70 mobile workstations.
- Following the death of a girl in 2006, the Chinese government
ordered a Chinese antibiotic manufacturer to recall its injectable antibiotic
(clindamycin phosphate glucose). This was after it was discovered that
it was the cause of death of a 6-year-old girl, and had caused over three
dozen serious reactions in patients that received it. According to the
Chinese authorities, the 6-year-old girl was given the antibiotic to treat
a cold but she developed a fever, lapsed into a coma and died three days
- In July 2006, Lexar Media Inc. of the U.S. recalled certain
flash memory drives made in China because they could overheat and burn
users or cause property damage. In a joint statement with the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission, Lexar said consumers should stop using the affected
products immediately and to contact Lexar for a free replacement. The recall
involved about 66,000 devices from Lexar's Jump Drive Fire Fly family of
flash drives, and the metallic silver colored 1GB Jump Drive Secure II.
- December 2006. Chinese authorities uncovered at least
180 Chinese factories that were using industrial chemicals in food production.
- In Panama, at least 100 people died after taking cough
syrup which contained diethylene glycol rather than the glycerine, which
was supposed to have been used instead.
- In March this year, many cats and dogs in the U.S. got
sick after eating tainted pet food imported from China. The pet food products
were found to contain Chinese wheat flour spiked with the chemical melamine
to appear like expensive, and higher in protein.
- In June, a Florida (USA) company issued a nationwide
recall for toothpaste imported from China. The roughly 170,000 recalled
toothpaste products had the contaminant diethylene glycol a poisonous
solvent used in antifreeze. The brands in question were Shir Fresh Mint
Flouride, Shir Fresh Ice, Shir Mint Flouride and Shir Fresh Cool. The Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) identified many other Chinese-made toothpastes
that were declared dangerous. Apart from the United States, New Zealand,
Singapore, Spain, Panama and several other Latin American and Caribbean
countries have taken Chinese-made toothpaste off the shelves for containing
- Also in June, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
as well as the Food and Drug Administration noted that toys, makeup, glazed
pottery and other products imported from China contained significant amounts
of lead. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, kidney failure,
anemia and irreversible brain damage in children. Because of lead contamination,
the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled several children's items
and/or toys all imported from China. In addition, children's gardening
gloves imported from China were found to have a stamp-painted logo on the
backside containing high levels of lead. Children's turquoise rings imported
from China were also found to have high lead levels. These were not all;
about 200,000 children's necklaces, bracelets and rings imported from China
were found to contain high lead levels. And about 5,000 bamboo game sets
called "Anima" were found to contain lead paint.
- Again in June this year, Chinese officials admitted that
formaldehyde, illegal dyes and industrial wax were used to make candy,
pickles, crackers and seafood. This was followed by a warning from the
FDA about eye shadow imported from China. Called "kohl," it is
used to create black lines around the eyes. Not only has the makeup been
found to contain high lead levels, eight brands of Chinese kohl were halted
by the FDA because of microbiological contamination. In addition, the Center
for Disease Control and Prevention found bacterial parasites in contact
lens solution imported from China. At least 21 people developed eye conditions
as a result of using Complete Moisture Plus, the contact lens solution.
- And the list goes on. One thousand and two hundred (1,200)
Raleigh Cadent bicycles with carbonage carbon forks, manufactured in China
were also pulled off the market in 2007. This is because the forks broke
during use, causing the rider to lose control, fall and suffer injuries.
By the time of recall, Raleigh America had received three reports of forks
breaking, resulting in injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, a concussion
and a broken jaw. The recall included the 2007 Raleigh Cadent 1.0, Cadent
2.0 and Cadent Carbon bicycle models with carbon forks.
- Again, this year, 450,000 tires made in China have been
pulled off the American market because the tires were missing safety features
that keep the tire tread from separating.
- Frozen fish imported from China into the United States
was labeled monkfish but it was pufferfish that contained tetrodotoxin.
Eating foods containing tetrodotoxin can result in life-threatening illness
or death and the toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing.
- It appears contamination associated with Chinese products
gets worse yearly. It therefore means that we should be very careful about
the products we import from China. Since there are many made-in-China products
in Ghana, and since Ghana has never recalled or removed any China-made
products from the market, does it mean the Chinese love us so much so that
they send only first class non-contaminated products to Ghana? Or does
it mean that the Ghana Standards Board, the regulatory body, is not doing
its work? Or does it mean that Chinese products are slowly killing us?
- On August 10 this year, the Ghana Standards Board, launched
its 40th anniversary celebration at a colorful ceremony at the Board's
premises. The theme for the celebration was "GSB @40 Setting the Pace
for Standards and Quality." Is this public body really ensuring standards?
Or is it one of the many lame ducks in our midst? By the way, who should
protect the average Ghanaian against unwholesome products the government,
GSB, the Ghanaian importer, or the average Ghanaian themselves?
- In conclusion, I have to mention that Chinese officials
have moved to show they are taking the concerns seriously. Recently, China
executed a former drug and food safety chief for corruption. In recent
weeks, China announced that it had closed down 180 food manufacturers that
were found to have used industrial chemicals and additives in their products.
However, personally, I don't think the Chinese government is doing enough
to stop polluting the world with contaminated products. Therefore, WE HAVE
TO PROTECT OURSELVES!
- Dr. Kwaku Obosu-Mensah
- Associate Professor of Sociology, Lorain County Community
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
- Univ of West Indies
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Also my new website:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health