Thursday, August 02, 2007

Turning Lead into Gold

Alchemy has long been misinterpreted as being about turning Lead in to Gold. In fact it is a mythological allegory about the transcendence from feudalism to capitalism. In that sense the 2oth Century discovery of Nuclear power was the ultimate philosophers stone.

In post WWII America lead based paint was cheap and applied everywhere. It was banned in the seventies. Today in the Global Economy the same lead based culture is once again being revived, in China. And of course its all about making gold, that is cold hard cash.

And think of the workers who applied this paint to the toys, if the danger is there for the consumer it is even worse for the workers.

Fisher-Price recalls almost one million toys

Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

Chinese authorities are now daily rounding up companies suspected of faulty products. The safety crackdown on domestic producers has been accompanied by a public relations campaign aimed at international traders.

"The Chinese government pays great attention to addressing flaws in product quality, especially the quality of food products," Li Changjiang, minister in charge of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said at a specially convened press conference.

The government's acknowledgement of existing problems makes a remarkable departure for a bureaucratic system prone to cover-ups.

When a pet-food ingredient produced in China was linked to the deaths of cats and dogs in North America in April, Beijing's first reaction was to deny it. "The poisoning of American pets has nothing to do with China," claimed a report in the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, the People's Daily.

Export-control officials argued that food contamination occurred both within the United States and with US exports to China. "No food-inspection system is foolproof," Li Yuanping, director general of the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau, countered at the time.

But international worries about China's exports have continued to mount with more and more reports about substandard and fake products coming to light. Since April, a slew of exports - including toothpaste, tires, seafood and toys - have been recalled or rejected around the world. What is worse, mislabeled drug ingredients in Chinese exports have been blamed for killing and injuring people in Panama and Haiti.

As a result, China has come under political pressure from the US and the European Union, where politicians are demanding assurances about the quality and safety of Chinese exports.

The decline in New York City's violent crime rate can be tied into the theory of a Fairfax, Va. economist, who believes lead poisoning accounts for most of the violent crime in the United States, according to an article in today's Washington Post.

Economist Rick Nevin has argued in a series of papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce exposure to lead poisoning.

Nevin has spent more than a decade researching and writing about the relationship between early childhood lead exposure and criminal behavior later in life. His theory offers a unifying new neurochemical explanation for fluctuations in the crime rate.

"It is stunning how strong the association is," Nevin told the Washington Post. "Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead."


Criminal Capitalism: Pet Food Scandal

China Burps Greenspan Farts Dow Hiccups

China Dolphin Free

Business As Usual

Temporary Workers Exploitation

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