Isn’t anything made in the U.S. anymore?
Last week I thought I’d pick up some valentiney gifts for my kids. The chocolate was easy; you can get that anywhere. I went to the discount stuff store, thinking I would get them each a piece of jewelry. Heart earrings for Tigger. Maybe a necklace for Little Bit.
The store had lots of suitable items, some in bright colors, some in “silver.” I had just one caveat: I didn’t want to buy jewelry made in China, because Chinese manufacturers lace their cheap jewelry with cadmium, a metal even more toxic than lead.
Silly me. I checked the labels on everything that looked cute and fun and valentiney, and lots of other things too. There was not one single piece of jewelry in that store that was not made in China. Furthermore, the labels all said “not intended for children under 13.” They didn’t add “because of the toxic levels of cadmium,” but that’s what they meant.
I bought each kid a book instead.
Yesterday I took Little Bit on a promised shopping trip to the mall, so she could spend the gift cards she got for Chanukah. We found lots of cute clothes (I didn’t check where they were made, but what are the odds?) at JC Penney, and then headed to Claire’s. I sent Little Bit over to look at the headbands and other hair accoutrements while I checked the labels on the jewelry. Made in China, every last bit of it.
Fortunately, the child did not have her heart set on jewelry. She bought three headbands and a purse (all made in China, hopefully cadmium-free, but who really knows?).
It boggles my mind that we continue to import goods from China. In scandal after scandal we have learned of the many ways Chinese manufacturers have sent poison for children to eat or play with. Remember the tainted baby formula? The lead paint on the toddler toys? When they got busted for lead in children’s jewelry, they substituted cadmium. Can you say “missing the point”?
Are there no American companies that make kiddy toys and jewelry? There’s a chain store called American Apparel that only sells clothes made in the U.S. I would happily patronize them, but their products are aimed at 15-24 year olds, and I left that demographic behind a long time ago. Where’s the American Apparel store for grown-ups? Where’s the American Kid store?
Not that there’s no chance an American manufacturer would sell flimsy garbage and try to poison us. I’m sure some would. But with Chinese companies, it’s a built-in part of the business model, and they outright own our retail economy. You can’t boycott Chinese products because there isn’t anything else.
Enjoy your chocolate, children. It’s the healthiest thing you can get on Valentine’s Day.