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Chinese Dining Table Shatters
And Injures Boy

By Ted Twietmeyer
This story begins in London:
LONDON -- "I purchased a glass table & chairs from a company that I found out purchases their goods from China. After 3 attempts of having a set delivered without any faults I finally had a set delivered in good condition. There was a design fault with the table and chairs and when my son was eating a meal at the table it shattered into pieces cutting his hands, it was all over the kitchen floor, over the dog it was everywhere.
I contacted the company who I purchased the set from in the E16 area and they said I had to contact the company in China and they did not want to know. I contacted Trading standards and they were supposed to investigate the company (as they were also selling dangerous air conditioning units on Ebay). Trading standards are only interested in pirate dvds they are not interested in those selling dangerous goods. Over a year later and I have not heard a thing.
More should be done to protect the public when the shops are being flooded with such crap these places are what trading standards should be keeping their eye on, I'd prefer to pay more for something produced in the UK." (This story is in a comment section where the Mattel toys lead paint story was posted.)[1]
The reason we have dangerous products in many areas is the result of greed and everyone wanting the cheapest price for everything. Retailers are always looking for the cheapest product sources they can find because that's what sells. As a result, American manufacturing (except for vehicles) is almost non-existent. Some of us can remember back to 1950's, 1960's and 1970's when we would look at something made dirt cheap, laugh and call it "Japanese Junk." That was still a time when people appreciated fine craftsmanship.
Few think that way anymore. If you bought something made in America (before the influx of cheap Chinese knock-offs and cloned products) you could expect it to last most of your life. Most products from Japan are now high quality, because the CONSUMERS demanded better quality. The Japanese learned from the mistake of cheap parts, sweat-shop labor and no quality control. Just thirty years ago before free trade began computers, toys and small trinkets were the main products of China.
The recent contamination of heavy metals and other chemicals in both food and non-food products should make all of us consider EVERY item we have in our home purchased within the last twenty years. We will never know what toxic materials were present in food or medicines ingested in the past, or what the long term effects are. The current sharp increase in Type 2 Diabetes must have a cause. Is it genetically engineered food? Chemicals in the environment? Fast food? Or a bad combination of all these?
Here's just one possibility of how China could use an ordinary product to dump toxic waste on the world: Think about that simple desktop device almost everyone has - a cellophane tape dispenser. These are everywhere. 3M makes these and most are weighted down so they will not move across the desk when you pull a piece of tape off it. To add weight, a mixture of sand and glue is poured inside some of these to give it cheap weight.
China is becoming more and more energy hungry with an almost insatiable appetite for power. As they build more nuclear power plants, they also have a steady increase in radioactive waste - commonly known as DU or depleted uranium. This dangerous material has 88% of its original radioactivity level when removed from the reactor, but is considered "depleted" by reactor standards due to reduced power output.
A company in China could get the insane idea to grind up DU and combine it with glue to use as weight in floor lamp bases and tape dispensers. Unless you have a Geiger counter you would never know this dangerous material is present. And if you do find it then YOU who will have the problem of a very expensive disposal effort since it will now be in your possession. Doing so would probably guarantee an unpleasant visit and interrogation by Homeland Security, too. In today's political climate, you might even be arrested for posession of DU.
This is just one of countless ways China can use the world not only to dump toxic waste, but make money doing so. Greed and ruthlessness are powerful forces world-wide. Most businesses will stop at nothing to make a buck, no matter what it takes. Only fear of their shareholders prevents many corporations from crossing the line. So what happens in Chinawhen there is no fear of shareholders - because they don't exist? In Chinese state-run companies anything that makes a dollar is acceptable. After all, "This is just business" as ruthless business people will tell you.
Since other countries could care less about the health of their customers, steps need to be taken to insure product safety. Here are a few general tests though probably not all inclusive:
* Toxic chemical testing - both outside and INSIDE all products. Applies to foodstuffs, too.
* Radioactive material testing
* Electrical testing - for shock and fire prevention
* Mechanical safety tests - can a consumer be injured if a malfunction occurs?
The last item applies to products such as tables, blenders and televisions. If a glass table can shatter - why can't a blender container? A high quality polycarbonate container is safer than glass. But cheap plastic will crack, too.
What of picture tubes in televisions? They are *supposedly* implosion proof. But the only way to test for this is in a laboratory using a sledge hammer. Picture tubes contain not just a vacuum, but a HIGH vacuum. In fact, picture tubes have less gas than space where the space station orbits. When a picture tube is shattered, air rushes in with great force to the center of the vacuum for a few milliseconds. Since this air is now at a much higher pressure than the surrounding air in the room, it quickly expands outwardly at great force. In doing so, it hurls the razor sharp glass shards at incredibly velocity.
I once saw a film of this test performed in a laboratory by a man with a sledgehammer wearing a helmet, visor shield, safety glasses and dressed in special clothing and standing off to the side of the television. When struck, the non-protected picture tube looked like a canon went off. This embedded chunks of glass in the walls. An unprotected person standing there would at the least lose their eyesight, or even their life. Yet we never hear of any real tests performed on incoming products for safety, simply because it would take MONEY out of a manufacturer's coffers. Supposedly this testing is performed in China at a picture tube manufacturing plant. Since quality control in China is almost non-existent, I wouldn't count on it.
The same picture tube technology used in televisions is used in computer monitors. If your monitor crashed to the floor - could it kill or mame you or someone else?
Underwriters Laboratories has long protected Americans against dangerous products, especially electrical products. It was that small, round UL label you saw on most appliances. What most peopq like those performed at Underwriters Laboratories.
Chinese companies don't care about this at all. For a consumer to sue them is almost impossible. And if it's a state-run company, suing them IS impossible. So who will pay the medical bills when injuries occur? You and I will. Any toy with lead-based paint or a table that can shatter would NEVER make it through a UL lab test.
Note the statement here - that a MANUFACTURER VOLUNTARILY SUBMITS a sample - it isn't a product taken as a random sample. Testing easily costs many thousands of dollars (I inquired of the laboratory to have this done for a telephone product I designed years ago.) If a product passes, then it has the right to have the UL sticker on it. How many Chinese products have a UL label? And if an offshore product does have a label - is it one that was actually earned through testing? Or is the label fake?
Such is the cost of obthe lowest price for an item in a market-driven economy.
Price first and safety last. Until the medical bills and injuries begin
Ted Twietmeyer
[1] - mikki, London - 



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