Friday, November 16, 2007

China manufacturers lace children's toys with liquid ecstasy

The next time you see your infant enjoying a new made-in-China toy, you might want to check to make sure he's not having too much of a good time: A recent discovery reveals that toys called "Aqua Dots" are coated with a chemical similar to liquid ectasy. When children eat the Aqua Dots (which they're not supposed to do, but they're children, after all), they go into an ectasy-induced coma. Six children have fallen ill in Australia where the toys are marketed as Bindeez. Manufacturers and distributors of the product are pulling it off the shelves in North America and around the world. It's the latest in a long string of health scares from Mainland China's product manufacturers.

The chemical culprit of all this is 1,4-butanediol, which breaks down into gamma hydroxy butyrate, also known as the "date rape drug." This drug is obviously not supposed to be used in children's toys, but then again we're talking about manufacturers from Communist China, where it seems that anything goes as long as western retailers close their eyes and don't bother to conduct safety tests on these products. (Dog food, anyone?)

All this follows the recent, astonishing announcement by Nancy Nord of the U.S. government's Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that there's really no need to enhance the safety monitoring of consumer products in the United States. Under orders from the White House, Nord insisted that the CPSC didn't need any increase in funding, and that businesses should essentially remain unregulated. Nancy Nord, who is now widely regarded as a pro-business Bush puppet, jetted around the world on trips paid for by some of the very same wealthy corporations who don't want consumer product safety regulations.

Not surprisingly, virtually everyone following this issue is outraged at both Nancy Nord and the Bush Administration for apparently having no concern whatsoever for the safety of U.S. consumers. But why should this surprise us? The FDA openly approves dangerous pharmaceuticals that even the agency's own top scientists admit are killing at least a hundred thousand Americans each year. What's a little ectasy in children's toys when senior citizens on medications are dropping faster than the U.S. dollar?

Corporations first, consumers last

The truth in all this is stupidly obvious: The U.S. government really has no interest in protecting consumers from corporations. Whether we're talking Big Pharma, food companies, toy manufacturers or even financial issues, virtually the entire United States government is aligned against consumers in a pro-business stance that sacrifices the lives of Americans for corporate profits. While there are minor exceptions to this, the big agencies that are supposed to protect consumers (FDA, EPA, FTC, FCC, etc.) have spent the last several years kow-towing to the interests of wealthy, influential corporations rather than protecting the interests of consumers.

Want examples? Why isn't the FTC investigating the pharmaceutical pricing monopoly engineered by Big Pharma and the FDA? Why isn't the FDA, for its part, protecting Americans from dangerous drugs like Avandia? Why does the FCC cater to the big business monopolization of the broadcast spectrum, squeezing out small, local operators who might want to run intelligent, independent radio stations? Why isn't the EPA going after Monsanto for the environmental impact of all its genetically modified crops and destructive chemicals? Why isn't the entire cancer industry going after chemical companies and actively trying to prevent cancer rather than simply claiming to be searching for a cure that will never be found anyway?

The answer to all these questions is the same: Because the U.S. government acts in collusion with Big Business to exploit U.S. consumers, stripping them of their health, their money and their future. The government has become, in essence, the enforcement branch of corporate America. Virtually every significant new law passed by Congress is structured in alignment with the wishes of America's most powerful corporations. This is no coincidence.