So, hopefully if you have been reading my posts for awhile, there have been some that made you laugh. Maybe some have made you think. Maybe some have even made you cry. I sincerely hope that this one will make you think, at the very least, but I also hope it will make you ACT.
Those of you with children, or those of you who read newspapers or watch tv, or those of you who haven't had your head buried in the sand somewhere, know that lately there have been several recalls of various children's toys. But, maybe you haven't seen the list. I got an email with a list of toys that have been recalled recently, and I was appalled. It would take me 2 days to go through this entire list, to make sure I haven't bought or received any toys that could harm my one year old son. I don't have 2 extra days to spare, and I'm betting everyone else with kids doesn't either.
Where are the majority, if not all, of these toys made? China. I decided to do a little research, and this is a sampling of what I found in just 20 minutes of online searching...
-"The Asian and Pacific regions harbour the largest number of child workers in the 5-14 age group, 127.3 million in total. (19 per cent of children work in the region.)" - found on www.unicef.org/protection/index_childlabour.html
-"At least 1,000 children aged between eight and 16 years have been enslaved in the illegal brick kilns in Shanxi province.
The letter, signed by 400 fathers from the central province of Henan, pleaded for help in their self-organised campaign to rescue the kidnapped children. It said the children had been kidnapped or forced into cars in urban Henan centres such as the capital Zhengzhou, then sold to factory bosses for about 500 yuan (65 US dollars) each." - found on www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38212
-"Over the last ten years China's economy has been growing at double-digit rate thanks to the labour of millions of migrant workers churning out goods for export in exchange for low wages. But, as the economy boomed labour disputes multiplies. more and more workers have gone to court or taken to the streets to protest poor working conditions and overdue pay." - found on www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38212
-"The Chinese government sees child labor as one way to combat poverty and does little to enforce the
laws against it. The companies are more interested in their economic investments than the status of
their workers. So far there have not been any convincing signs that the situation will improve or that the
issue has become a priority for the Chinese government." - found on www.tulane.edu/~rouxbee/kids99/china2.html
Am I the only one who thinks that this is not OK? I am MAD. I am mad as a mother. I shouldn't have to worry about the toys I buy having lead in them. Parents have enough to worry about. I am mad as a consumer. I should have the choice to buy a product that is made in the USA, or one that at least isn't made in China. I am mad as an American. These American companies are obviously turning a blind eye to what is going on. They don't seem to be concerned with our children, instead they just worry about the all mighty dollar. I refuse to believe that Americans would rather save a few bucks, and make a company rich who is using children as slaves to make their cheap ass products, than to spend a little more for a product that is safe, and made legally. Please tell me I am correct in this assumption.
After doing the research, I started looking around my house, turning over toys, books, and clothing. It makes me sick to tell you how many of the items in my home say in teeny tiny lettering "Made in China". Too many to spend my time counting. I don't know if you have heard the radio ad yet about Walmart. It says that 70% of the items in Walmart are made in China. That wasn't a big concern to me because I try desperately to avoid Walmart as it is - the place gives me the creeps. But, I was shopping in Target recently, a store I like, and every single item I wanted to buy was "Made in China". I left the store disgusted and with no items in my cart. Today, I found a bunch of items I would like to buy in a catalog. One problem - there is no way of knowing where they were made. I would have the same problem if I shopped online. Consumers are left in the dark about this issue. Well, I for one refuse to be left in the dark anymore.
So, this is my pledge. I will not buy or accept ANY gifts this Christmas that are manufactured, printed, or "Made in China". Even if that means I don't buy or receive any gifts this year. At least I will have the gift of peace of mind and a clear conscious.