WASHINGTON – While China continues to promise to impose higher safety standards on exports, a WND study shows two of every three products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission last year were Chinese imports – with an upward trend of defective, unsafe products found in every quarter of 2007.
The CPSC recalled a total of 447 products for safety concerns last year. Of those, 298 were manufactured in China. Only 62 were made in the USA. The rest were made in other countries.
In 2006, the CPSC recalled a total of 467 kinds of products – 221 of which were Chinese imports. Only 113 were for products made in the USA.
As recently as 2002, the figures were virtually reversed – with 150 U.S. made products being recalled and just 99 from China.
The trend illustrates not only vastly different standards in safety between the two countries, but also a massive shift in manufacturing from the U.S. to China.
The Chinese products recalled in 2007 include:
- Portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, resulting in 60 reports of cuts, bruises and abrasions;
- Swimming pool ladders that break, resulting in 127 reports of injuries, including leg lacerations requiring up to 21 stitches, five reports of bone fractures, two back injuries, two reports of torn ligaments and eight sprained ankles;
- Faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, getting skulls cracked and hospitalizations;
- Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children’s fingers in openings, resulting in burns;
- Oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, burns and smoke inhalation injuries;
- Exploding air pumps that have resulted in 13 lacerations including six facial injuries and one to the eye;
- Bargain-priced oil-filled electric heaters, selling for less than $50, that burn down homes;
- Notebook computer batteries that burn up computers, cause other property damage and burn users;
- Circular saws with faulty blade guards that result in cutting users, not wood.
Last year Chinese imports were hit for poisoning America’s pets, risking America’s human food supply and reintroducing lead poisoning to America’s children.
Electrical products made in China represent a significant percentage of the recalls. The CPSC noted the market is saturated with counterfeit circuit breaker, power strips, extension cords, batteries and holiday lights that are causing fires, explosions, shocks and electrocutions.
“Many counterfeit products are made in China and CPSC is actively working with the Chinese government to reduce the number of unsafe products that are exported to the United States,” said the alert issued in May.
The agency suggests that if the price of such an item seems to be too good to be true, it could be because the product is an inferior or unsafe counterfeit.
You might think an attractive, normal-looking table lamp would be safe. But 1,500 manufactured in China had to be recalled because of faulty light sockets that posed the risk of electrical shocks and fire hazards.
Or how about emergency lights that look just like other emergency lights but whose circuit board malfunctions, preventing illumination during emergencies? The CPSC recalled thousands of those in 2007.
And be careful which heated massaging recliners you relax in. If you choose one of the 1,700 manufactured in China and recalled by the commission last year, you might have found yourself medium rare because of an overheating and burn hazard discovered.
Even the simplest, most inexpensive items from China seem to pose massive risks. About 2,700 $12 pine cone candles had to be recalled when it was determined the exterior coating, not just the wick, caught fire.
The problem is Americans see a cheap electrical power strip with a circuit breaker and assume it does what it is supposed to do. That is not the case with many Chinese counterfeits. They are not only counterfeits in the sense of improperly using brand names, they are actually counterfeits in the sense of pretending to do something they were never intended to do.
But big problems occur when an over-taxed power strip doesn’t trip a circuit. Fires can occur. Property can be damaged. People can be killed.
Likewise, when Americans buy attractive-looking glassware at a bargain price, they might ask themselves: “How can I go wrong?”
Pier 1 Imports found out when 180,000 pieces of glassware were ordered recalled by the CPSC because the items broke for no apparent reason, sometimes cutting the hands of those holding them.
How could one go wrong purchasing an attractive kitchen stool engraved with a rooster on the seat? After all, it was only $30. Well, several people found out when the stools collapsed, even under the weight of small children.
You might want to think twice before entrusting your child to something as simple as a crib made in China. For years, American manufacturers scrupulously lived up to the exacting safety standards imposed by agencies like the CPSC. Not so with Chinese manufacturers.
Some 40,000 cribs had to be recalled when it was discovered directions instructed consumers to assemble them in ways that would result in the baby falling out and becoming entrapped. Additionally, locking pins on the side of the crib could pop off and cause a choking hazard.
About 450,000 infant car seat carriers manufactured in China had to be recalled when it was determined infants were falling out because of a faulty design. The Evenflo Co., which imported the carriers from China, received 679 reports of the handle on the car seat releasing for no reason, resulting in 160 injuries to children, including a skull fracture, two concussions and cuts and bruises.
American manufacturers also adapted years ago to requirements that products designed for young children avoid small parts that could result in choking accidents. But, again, based on a survey of recalls in the first six months of 2007, this seems to be a foreign concept among Chinese companies.
Even books for young children have been found to contain plastic squeaker toys that have become lodged in babies’ throats and metal clips that break off, potentially injuring kids.
Graco received 137 reports of infants mouthing, chewing and sometimes choking on tiny pieces of its soft blocks tower toys imported from China. At least 32 infants were found gagging on the pieces and 49 choked on the plastic covering. In all, 40,000 had to be recalled.
It’s not just the CPSC turning away Chinese imports. The Food and Drug Administration was busy in 2007 as well. A slew of Chinese exports were banned or turned away by U.S. inspectors, including wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine that has been blamed for dog and cat deaths in North America, monkfish that turned out to be toxic pufferfish, drug-laced frozen eel and juice made with unsafe color additives.
As WND reported last year, China, the leading exporter of seafood to the U.S., is raising most of its fish products in water contaminated with raw sewage and compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the FDA.
The stunning news followed WND’s report that FDA inspectors report tainted food imports from China are being rejected with increasing frequency because they are filthy, are contaminated with pesticides and tainted with carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs.
China consistently has topped the list of countries whose products were refused by the FDA – and that list includes many countries, including Mexico and Canada, who export far more food products to the U.S. than China.
While less than half of Asia has access to sewage treatment plants, aquaculture – the raising of seafood products – has become big business on the continent, especially in China.
In China, No. 1 in aquaculture in the world, 3.7 billion tons of sewage is discharged into rivers, lakes and coastal water – some of which are used by the industry. Only 45 percent of China has any sewage-treatment facilities, putting the country behind the rest of Asia.