Don’t breathe, we’re in China now

Do you ever feel like you’re a cross between being angry and confused? Well that is where I am now. I’ve read that members of the U.S. cycling team wore masks upon disembarking from the plane in China. Now it’s not like these folks went and bought up old gas masks to make a political statement. According to the New York Times ;

“The United States Olympic Committee had issued the specially designed masks to protect athletes from the potentially harmful air here. The U.S.O.C.’s lead exercise physiologist, Randy Wilber, had advised the athletes to wear the masks on the plane and as soon as they stepped foot here.”

So suddenly this became a big political row and we were concerned about offending the Chinese. I don’t know about you but I don’t really give half a crap about offending the Chinese. I have young kids and I spent a fair amount of time within the last 12-18 months seeing the toys that they play with that were manufactured in China be recalled.

A brief list of things that were recalled included pet food that was killing animals, toothpaste, Thomas the Tank trains, Fisher Price toys and a variety of toys from Sesame Street, Elmo, Barbie, Cars the movie and more. And these toys were not recalled because there was a vague possibility that there could be a problem. They were recalled primarily because they were covered with LEAD. Toys for young children with unacceptable levels of lead. For those of you who don’t know, LEAD and young children don’t mix. Would you like to know what happens to children who ingest lead?

  • Delayed in language and motor development
  • Poor speech articulation – Poor language understanding or usage
  • Rigid, inflexible problem-solving abilities
  • Delayed general intellectual abilities
  • Learning Disabilities (reading, language, math, writing)
  • Problems controlling behavior, maintaining attention, Hyperactivity, memory problems (e.g., aggressive, impulsive)
  • Problems with fine or gross motor coordination

Now before someone chimes in with a free market argument or that you can’t blame a child’s problems on a toy let me stop you. If we are going to have a free market than I want the right to be informed. The problem with these toys is the cumulative effect of lead. The toys that are listed above are for small kids. They are things that go into mouths and hands that go into mouths.  We have a lot of disabilities in kids in this country that we don’t know the cause of (autism anyone?) So why would we allow our kids to have things when we know what the negative effects are?

The U.S. budget deficit is financed by borrowing. More and more of that money comes from China, now the United States’ second-largest lender, after Japan. According to the U.S. Treasury China now holds 502 BILLION dollars of U.S. debt. Maybe that’s why we’re afraid of offending them.

I’m old enough to remember when the biggest threat to the world according to our government was Communism but apparently communism is okay if they let us sell them stuff. And here I am back to the beginning, angry and confused.

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