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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Toxic Toys and Chinese Workers

Toxic Factories Take Toll On China's Labor Force from the Wall Street Journal. Good article.

Key Points:

1. More that 10% of China's arable land is contaminated with heavy metals such as cadmium, according to the State Environmental Protection Agency, and the metals are entering China's food supply. Take Away - Food Safety Issue...

2. GP quit making them at its plants, and now outsources that production to independent factories in China. Shows the use of sub-contracting in China's manufacturing.

3. A person present at the Huizhou police station says the workers were told they would be charged with treason if they spoke to the media again. The Huizhou government says its police detained no battery workers. Somebody is lying... Local governments that have factories that don't meet safety requirements don't want this exposed/published outside the country.

4. A second test showed Ms. Wang's cadmium level in the normal range, disqualifying her for assistance. With her later health problems, I would not be surprised if the second test results were faked. Government-run occupational-disease hospital did the testing, the same government that may have asked the local police to have a talk with Ms. Wang's party.

5. The article shows the inability of Western companies to monitor the safety of workers producing their products. Especially with sub-contracting.

6. Toys are an incredible cost competitive area, where what matters for most company is just the price since how do you know when a product has been responsibly made, verses one that has not been.

Links:
Toxic Factories Take Toll On China's Labor Force - Wall Street Journal
Pollution in China - Lesson Plan From Childbook
More than 10% of arable land polluted - From China Daily.

China Faces a New Worry: Heavy Metals in the Food - Wall Street Journal

More links on Heavy Metal in China - Foreign Policy Blog
1 Million factories and 50,000 personnel (and all are not inspectors).

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