Since mid-2006, China's pig herds have suffered serious outbreaks of a viral illness commonly known as blue-ear disease. Sick animals are supposed to be rejected by slaughterhouses, but enforcement is lax.
These home heparin workshops are not regulated by Chinese because they are designated as chemical makers, not drug producers or pharmaceuticals. Neither China nor the United States has any current procedure or future plan to make the ingredients consistent, clean or traceable.
The FDA calls the contamination "a worldwide problem" that has appeared in 11 countries. Recalls of heparin have also taken place in Germany, Denmark, France, Italy and Japan.
What's the surprise? It is already known that the Chinese intentionally poisoned other products they exported to the United States.
U.S. cats and dogs were sickened and killed by Chinese pet food that had been adulterated by melamine, a chemical used in plastic, which was added to wheat gluten to fake higher protein levels. The Chinese poisoned toothpaste and children's anti-fever medicines by using diethylene glycol instead of glycerin. These poisons are not only dangerous in themselves, but they can compromise the overall usefulness of certain critical drugs by giving rise to drug-resistant mutant bacteria.
Millions of Chinese-made toys had to be recalled because of lead paint used at unacceptable levels. Some 6,000 baby T-shirts were just recalled in Japan following detection of high levels of formaldehyde.
The World Health Organization estimates that 10 percent to 15 percent of the world's drug supply is counterfeit. Some products are completely fake; others have been tampered with, contaminated, diluted, repackaged or mislabeled in a way that misrepresents the contents, dosage, origin or expiration date.
At least 80 percent of active and non-active ingredients in U.S. drugs now come from overseas, the majority from China. Your next medicine might contain cement, gypsum, antifreeze, talcum powder, sawdust, industrial solvents or paint. As a devotee of free trade at all costs, the Bush administration apparently has no plan to ensure that imports of Chinese ingredients into the United States for prescription drugs, food, medical devices, and animal feed meet U.S. safety standards. When will Americans wake up to the high cost of "free" trade?
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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