Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Mr. Speaker, what do toys, pet food, jewelry, toothpaste, lipstick, and glazed pottery have in common? Well, if these products are from China, it's toxic chemical poisoning.

In 2007, millions of toys were imported to the United States from the People's Republic of China, and then they were recalled after it was discovered that they contained high amounts of lead paint. Mr. Speaker, one of those was Thomas the Tank Engine, and here is a photograph of it. It was one of many of the millions of toys recalled; 1.5 million of these toys were recalled because they were made in China and had lead in them, in the paint that covered these toys.

Of course, everyone knows that lead poisoning can cause serious problems for children, including learning disabilities, kidney failure, irreversible brain damage, and anemia. Here in the United States, the leading cause of lead poisoning in children used to be old paint, but U.S. manufacturers stopped using this toxic ingredient over 30 years ago. But despite this ban on U.S. manufacturers, China consistently failed to maintain the same level of concern over the health and safety of consumers in the United States that it sells products to.

In 2006, the United States imported billions of dollars worth of toys, dolls, and games from China. That was approximately 85 percent of the United States' total imports of these products worldwide. And yet, between January and December of last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 17 million Chinese toys, all due to excessive amounts of lead. Another 10 million Chinese toys were recalled last year due to other dangerous manufacturing defects like loose magnets, toxic chemicals on beads, and items that are burn hazards.

Also, Mr. Speaker, during that same period, the FDA recalled 150 pet brand foods from China which were believed to cause the deaths of hundreds of pets in the United States; it seems they contained fertilizer. So, Chinese products contain lead in their exported toys for tots to Americans and contain fertilizer in pet foods that kill our dogs. But that's not all, however. The FDA has also recalled tires, lunch boxes, toothpaste that had antifreeze in it, and fake drugs due to consumer safety and health concerns. This is all from products from China. And in all, Mr. Speaker, 80 percent of the recalls issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission last year involved Chinese products. This kind of disregard for the well-being of America's consumers is not acceptable and should not be tolerated by our government.

American companies buy these products because they're cheap. You see, aperson in China gets paid about 67 cents an hour. Even illegals in this country won't work for that. And since the 1980s, China has been privileged to receive most-favored-nation treatment from the United States.

China is the second largest U.S. trading partner, but most of the billion dollars in trade goes to China. It's a one-way street. It's a free-trade street for China, and it's all for cheap, dangerous products made with cheap, sweatshop labor in China.

As the second largest U.S. trading partner, China must conform to the standards of safety that are required of American companies for the well-being of Americans. Even better, why don't American companies buy goods that are manufactured in the United States?

And lastly, Mr. Speaker, Chinese manufacturing companies are notorious polluters of their