Chinese products for children found to contain unacceptable levels of lead include vinyl baby bibs, Thomas the Tank Engine sets, Baby Einstein Discover & Play Color Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean medallion squeeze lights, Totally Me! Funky Room Decor Sets, Hannah Montana handbags, and Barbie doll accessories.
Australia recalled hundreds of blankets imported from China in October because they contained formaldehyde up to 10 times the level permissible under international standards. The World Heath Organization has classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.
Chinese seafood is potentially more dangerous. About 80 percent of seafood consumed by Americans is imported, and the Food and Drug Administration inspects and tests only 1 percent.
Lab tests show that China uses antibiotics to treat fish raised in filthy waters where bacteria, viruses and parasites breed. Lab testers say that when seafood is rejected for an illegal chemical, the Chinese simply switch to another harmful chemical.
Often found in imported fish is a fungicide called malachite green, which is illegal to use in food in the United States because studies show it can cause cancer and birth defects.
Alabama has its own tests and rejects 50 percent to 60 percent of all fish imports. Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks personally visited Asia to witness seafood farmed in sewage.
Chinese products are so cheap because workers in Guangdong, where most Chinese toys are made, are primarily 17- to 25-year-old females who average 16-hour workdays, six to seven days a week, and earn about $50 per month. They live in unhealthy, overcrowded dormitories, where a bed is their only possession.
With the 2008 Olympic games coming soon, China is stepping up its censorship under the official slogan "constructing a harmonious society." Visitors who click on China's largest Internet site, called Sina.com, are greeted by two cute cartoon police figures, one male and one female, who pop up onscreen every 30 minutes.
These images link to the Communist Party Internet police in order to report any information the government might deem illegal. It's important for Americans to realize that China is still a very communist and anti-American country.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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