Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Federal officials have announced the recall of a China-made surge protector sold to American consumers that started fires, including one that caused $916,000 damage to a home.
The unit, which also is made in the Philippines, is just the latest in a long list of defective and potentially dangerous products from China on which WND has reported.
There have been carcinogen-laced foods for adults, dangerous toys for children and even contaminated treats and food for pets.
WND even reported a Chinese pipeline was supplying falsified driver’s licenses and IDs to Americans.
Fake electronics have been found in thermal weapons sights delivered to the U.S. Army, computer chips were found to have been recycled, toy castles had parts that could choke children, kids’ jewelry was poisoned, air pumps exploded and oil-filled heaters caused fires.
In the latest recall, about 15 million surge protectors from Schneider Electric.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it had received 700 reports of overheating and melting, and 55 reports of property damage from smoke and fire, including $916,000 in fire damage to one home and $750,000 in fire damage to a medical facility.
There were 13 reports of injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns from touching the surge protectors.
The federal government reports the units were supposed to protect electronics from power surges and were labeled APC SurgeArrest.
According to investigators, a Senate panel tracked some 1,800 cases of suspected counterfeit parts through the supply chain. It found that U.S. defense contractors had purchased many of the critical components from U.S. companies who, in turn, obtained them from Chinese firms but never subjected them to testing before handing them over to the U.S. military as part of their contract.
The Senate unit, whose investigators were denied access to Chinese firms by Chinese authorities, said the evidence “consistently point(s) to China as the epicenter of the global trade in counterfeits.”
To put the growing problem into perspective, Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said, “We do not want a $12 million missile defense interceptor’s reliability compromised by a $2 counterfeit part.”
The military aircraft that have been affected include the SH-60B, AH-64 and CH-46 helicopters; and the C-17, C-130J, C-27J and P-8A Poseidon airplanes. Investigators said if the component in the FLIR’s Electromagnetic Interference Filter, or EIF, had failed, then the FLIR itself would fail and the SH-60B could not conduct surface warfare missions, which included firing its Hellfire missiles.
A FLIR failure also would compromise the pilot’s ability to avoid hazards and identify targets at night, thereby limiting the SH-60B’s night mission capability.
She wrote that malfunctions traced to the chips were being reported as early as 2005. Targeted were computers aboard U.S. F-15 fighter jets at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.
Even at that point, officials said at least 15 percent of the spare and replacement chips the Pentagon was buying were counterfeit.
Officials in the National Intelligence Agency and the FBI expressed concern then that the fakes could let the Chinese gain access to secure systems inside the United States.
Schlafly wrote at the time: “The U.S. bought 59,000 counterfeit microchips from China for use in our warships, planes, missile and antimissile systems but fortunately were discovered they are fake in time. How many didn’t we catch?”
One Senate investigator even discovered that electronic components had been harvested from “e-waste” and sometimes were sold on public sidewalks and in public markets in China.
There also are whole factories in China with up to 15,000 people employed for the purpose of counterfeiting products.
WND has not been alone in its reporting. DefenseTech also reported on the danger: “You don’t have to be a genius to see the safety nightmare presented by fake parts on incredibly complex systems like submarines, fighter jets and tiltrotors.”
During a one-month period, 17 of 28 products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission were Chinese imports.
Hammock stands that are unstable and cause those who use them to fall to the ground in alarming numbers: About 3,000 imported by Algoma Net Co. of Wisconsin and sold in Kohl’s, Target and other retail outlets have been called back. There have been at least 28 reports of brackets cracking or breaking and consumers falling to the ground.
Toy castles that could choke your young child: Some 68,000 Shape Sorting Toy Castles produced by Infantino were recalled after at least four reports of children nearly choking on colored beads that slid off the toy and lodged in their throats.
Kids jewelry that could poison them: About 20,000 Essentials for Kids Jewelry Sets have been recalled by the CPSC because of toxic levels of lead in the paint – a frequent problem with products from China.
Magnet toys that could perforate your child’s intestines: About 800 Mag Stix Magnetic Building Sets were recalled by the CPSC, which found the plastic sticks can be swallowed or aspirated. The agency found one 8-year-old girl was hospitalized after swallowing loose magnets. Extensive surgery was required to remove the magnets and repair intestinal perforations.
Other products found to have problems were portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, swimming pool ladders that break, faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children’s fingers in openings, resulting in burns, oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, exploding air pumps, oil-filled electric heaters that burn down homes, notebook computer batteries that burn up computers and circular saws with faulty blade guards.
Found to have been contaminated in recent years are Chinese products ranging from pet food to seafood intended for humans.
A WND study showed the Food and Drug Administration found products intended for human consumption tainted with pesticides, carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs.