The safety problems affecting Chinese goods spread from toys to textiles on Monday as New Zealand said it would investigate allegations that imported children’s clothes contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde. Experts bring up the rational point that this makes up a tiny fraction of exports from China and that most of the defective products come from unscrupulous sub contractors and are isolated incidents. Myopic news lemmings like me who will readily latch onto any half baked conspiracy theory see something far more sinister…
The Warehouse, a New Zealand retailer, issued a recall at the weekend for children’s pajamas made in China after two children were burned when their flannel nightclothes caught fire. The government ordered the probe after scientists hired by a consumer watchdog program discovered formaldehyde in Chinese clothes at levels of up to 900 times regarded as safe. Manufacturers sometimes apply formaldehyde to clothes to prevent mildew. It can cause skin rashes, irritation to the eyes and throat and allergic reactions.
The New Zealand investigation is the first time that the safety of Chinese clothes has been called into question; concerns have been raised over a series of Chinese products in recent months, including toys, food and toothpaste. Last week, Mattel said it was recalling 18.2m toys globally because of hazards such as the use of lead paint.
The latest concerns came as Li Changjiang, head of China’s safety watchdog, claimed the product safety scares were “a new trend of trade protectionism”, and accused some governments of “demonising China’s products”.
Hiscomments reflected Beijing’s anxiety over growing fears of Chinese exports in the US and Europe, but they were dismissed by Peter Mandelson, the European Union trade commissioner.
“The allegation that European companies’ action against toxic Chinese goods is politically motivated and shows bias against China is totally false,” said Mr Mandelson on Monday. “As trade commissioner, I will not accept claims of toxicity being used as a pretext for protectionism.’’
Economists say the safety scandals have so far had limited impact on exports, in part as toys accounted for less than 1 per cent of overall exports last year, while foodstuffs made up 1.4 per cent.
Textiles and clothing made up more than 13 per cent of exports in the first half of the year.
“The textile sector is a much more important part of China’s exports so this will be more of a cause for concern for the authorities,” said Mark Williams, an economist at Capital Economics in London. “However, these cases are still a drop in the ocean in terms of China’s overall trade.”
China lacks the military strength to challenge the United States but if they quietly poison us one at a time they can weaken us to the point where we cannot defend ourselves. It’s like the evil wife on Matlock who puts a small amount of arsenic in her husbands coffee over a period of weeks kills him without raising suspicion. I probably stayed up too late watching In Search of with Leonard Nimoy but this poisoned pajama incident may be part of a secret Chinese program. First they poison our dogs and cats, the Thomas the Train cars, pretty soon our houses will be chalk full of toxic Chinese crap from box stores. Before we know it those of us who survive will all be speaking Chinese.
Hysterical? Perhaps, but I’m safe here under my bed blogging, at least until Google turns me into the Chinese authorities.