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NOT made in China
Old 11-30-2007, 02:15 PM   #1
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NOT made in China

My wife and I have a little one due in less than a month. As such, we have decided not to buy any products manufactured in China. We know that all Chinese products are not a health hazard, but with some of the recent problems regarding lead paint toys, date rape drug laced toys and toxic toothpaste, we prefer to not take the chance with the most precious thing in our life.

To go along with that, we don't want to buy products made with child labor either. The majority of which comes from China/SE Asia, Russia, Africa and CIS countries. And though not all companies operating in these places use child labor, we have no way of knowing which do and don't, so as they say, everyone pays for the few bad apples. So, the simplest thing for us to do, is to not buy any products made outside the EU (European Union) or North America where we have more faith that quality and safety regulations are properly enforced.

Everything we have bought so far we've researched exactly where it is manufactured (many companies try to fool you on the tags). If we can't determine where it's made, we don't buy it. So far we have a Dutch car seat, Italian baby bath and changing table, Estonian baby clothes (and one Estonian clothing company just stopped importing Ukrainian cotton due to child labor issues there), diapers and baby wipes are Finnish, baby shampoo is made in Italy, etc.

Though we originally did this for our child, we've decided to do this for all products we buy from now on. I spent the last few days looking for an auto ice scraper/snow brush and finally today scored a Mallory, made in Canada.

Anyone else gone to these extremes? Are we totally overreacting as new parents?
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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I certainly understand your concerns. You are going to have a full time job screening all of your purchases. Even if an item is not made in China (or whereverver) you don't the source of the components used to make that product. I am not for isolationism but we have to demand that safety standards are met. This is not going to be an easy problem to fix...
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:17 PM   #3
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i used to refuse to own german cars. then i found myself owning a mustang (my first one, not the new one) before i knew that ford was not only completely anti-semitic (which i knew, but--what the heck--he was dead) but that the company had supposedly engaged jewish slave labor during wwii. there are also some account of general motors doing the same.

we can still vote with our feet to some degree and i hate to just shrug a shoulder but it is ever harder to go with your gut during an age of international finance.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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i used to refuse to own german cars. then i found myself owning a mustang (my first one, not the new one) before i knew that ford was not only completely anti-semitic (which i knew, but--what the heck--he was dead) but that the company had supposedly engaged jewish slave labor during wwii. there are also some account of general motors doing the same.........
I can see the unsafe products from China thing, but do you realize that Bill Ford is Henry's GREAT grandson?

Re WWII collusion, look at what is currently happening with Google and Yahoo in providing identification of dissident internet posters to the Chinese government. And I believe our "own" space hero Wernher von Braun made his V2 rockets with slave labor.

V-2 rocket - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It ain't simple.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:03 PM   #5
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Everything we have bought so far we've researched exactly where it is manufactured (many companies try to fool you on the tags). If we can't determine where it's made, we don't buy it. So far we have a Dutch car seat, Italian baby bath and changing table, Estonian baby clothes (and one Estonian clothing company just stopped importing Ukrainian cotton due to child labor issues there), diapers and baby wipes are Finnish, baby shampoo is made in Italy, etc.
This is something that I aspire to do, but I just don't see it as practical. It's quite possibly more practical in Estonia than it is here in the US. For instance, we have a Peg Prego stroller. It's Italian, but it's made in China. A Chicco playard, which is also Italian and also made in China. Graco carseat, American company that manufactures in China. In fact, the only baby item that we have that's not made is China is probably the Baby Bjorn baby carrier. About the only baby clothing that we have that's not made in a low-labor-cost country is the stuff that friends and relatives made for us!

I'm surprised that you were able to find a commodity like baby wipes manufactured in a high-labor-cost country like Finland.
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:38 PM   #6
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.. As such, we have decided not to buy any products manufactured in China. ...
Bravo. I opt for products made in USA when possible and avoid Chinese-made products when possible, too. It's difficult, but I feel good about it.

Congrats on the upcoming birth of your child -- not made in China.
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Old 11-30-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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Good luck. So much of a products heritage isnt transparent. I just bought a couple of "made in the US" enameled cast iron pans. Turns out they make the pans in the US, ship them to china to be enameled using an enamel product from france, and then ship them back to the US for sale...

Their web site is emblazoned "We're cooking in the USA!" "Dont be fooled by cheap Chinese imitations - If it's not ours, it's not American!"
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:07 PM   #8
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Anyone else gone to these extremes? Are we totally overreacting as new parents?
We'll get back to you in a few months... say after the 200th midwatch feeding or the 1000th diaper change. Disposable or reusable?

By the time our kid started teething, we didn't care how much of the environment we had to trash to get two hours of uninterrupted sleep.

After a few dozen airports and rental car backseats, we also wished that we'd bought the best strollers & carseats that technology could produce. I didn't care if NASA had to use the collective labor of an entire planet of Ewok children to manufacture it, either.

In all seriousness, though, you might want to read Freakonomics or "The World is Flat" to get another perspective on child labor. It was routinely practiced in America through the end of the 19th century because people needed the money to survive, not because our ancestors were all a bunch of Snively Whiplashes. I suspect that the same economic imperative is at work in third-world countries, especially when you've been orphaned by AIDS.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:11 PM   #9
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Yeah, this is a tough one. Something may be made outside of China, but there's a damn good chance some component - whether paint, thread, adhesive, etc. - is made in China or some other location you deem inferior in quality control.

I guess if you're avoiding the blatent 'Made in China' items, at least you're minimizing the amount of content that is of unknown origin, but also remember that 50 years ago, many of the current safety rules and regulations weren't in place - and it's not like the average retiree today is walking around with an extra limb, is it?
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:45 PM   #10
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Well, Trek,

It shouldn't be too difficult to find domestic (i.e, Estonian, even) products. When we lived in Denmark, it was pretty clear what was made locally, and there was a lot of stuff that was. It should be possible to find only EU stuff. You might have to do without the most current 4wd strollers.

What did morsmor [translation: Danish for mothers's mother--grandma, to y'all] use? Enjoy the sophisticated past of Europe. Talk to the family. You might even get to use the same pram your wife rode in (when she was a wee bairn).

All the best, mate.

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Old 12-01-2007, 12:06 AM   #11
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Bum,

We do the best we can.

My dad would not own a Japanese car or buy Japanese products, as he was in the army in the Pacific in WWII. Eventually he decided to normalize relations.

Over time, it comes down to: what is the situation today? Times change, the people change and the situation changes.

Here on the Left Coast, we favour demonstrations such as carrying signs on the corner where the Post Office is. (Gotta be a Federal building, right?)

After I no longer depend upon a paycheck, I have in mind a few protests of my own.

Cheers, man.

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Old 12-01-2007, 01:15 AM   #12
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If you want to take this argument to an extreme, you might be interested in CSAs. I am not sure what they are called in Estonia, but these are growing more popular in the US. CSA is "Community Supported Agriculture" also known as farm subscriptions.

Basically you pay a local farmer for a "share" of his harvest. Then you get a delivered box of a selection of local produce, meats, eggs, raw milk, etc. You generally pay a nominal subscription fee up front and receive food through the growing season. Some farms are organic, some are not, but the nice thing is that you develop a relationship with your local farmer (put a face with the hard work!) and reduce your carbon footprint on the world.

Here is a link to available CSAs in the US:
Community Supported Agriculture - LocalHarvest


If you don't want your baby eating date-rape dots, why would you want them eating insect/herb/rodent-icides!
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:38 AM   #13
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NOT made in China is today's fad due to bad products produced from there.

It will pass...you may not be old enough to remember all the products that said "made in USA" (a town in Japan) back in the day when Japan produced shoddy products and there was still a lot of post WWII animosity.

I think its nearly impossible to find many product categories that are not made in whole or in part in China. Have you been in walmart lately?

I also feel like this is analogous to so-called "social investing" - since not everyone agrees on what is "correct" its too fragmented to have much economic impact.
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:55 AM   #14
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Hmmm - duck and cover in school and 'Union made in the U.S.A.' - Dad was hard core. Among the very first things I did as a Boeing engineer was to join SPEEA - and buy a pocket protector.

The iron discipline weakened in the 60's - Mom was allowed a used VW Bug as a second car and I was not refused home visitations with my new rag top Datsun 2000 roadster. He would ride in neither.

Brings back visions of Taverns with signs - no cork boots allowed and grown men with metal lunch buckets, blue shirts/suspenders black levi's with the legs cut short for cork logging boots.

heh heh heh - never drink with 'gypo' loggers - it's might be hazardous to your health. To curmudgeon or not to curmudgeon - that is the question. Not to date myself - but time has really marched on - the names have changed but there seems a vague ring of familiarity?
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:36 AM   #15
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It's not going to be easy. And then there is that pesky old 'law of unintended consequences'.

I was reading recently, think it was "Freakonomics', about the child labor issue. One factory got raided, fired all the kids, and guess what? Many of those kids had to go back to their former 'jobs' as child prostitutes. Sad, but supposedly true.

So it's easy to be against child labor in principle, but what if the alternative is worse? What to do?

-ERD50
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:44 AM   #16
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Anyone else gone to these extremes? Are we totally overreacting as new parents?
As parents, we first started with Freecycle/Craigslist, not just for cost savings, but also because we like not contributing to consumerism *unnecessarily*

We haven't checked as many labels as we should, but probably will start doing so after reading this thread.

We've been eating as close to completely organic as possible for about 6 months now, and are now looking to add the "Free Trade Certified" to that as well. Our grocery costs are ridiculous... nearly $800/month for two of us, but the flip-side is that we eat out less and less and less.

We also now try to only buy organic and sustainable clothes when possible. The clothes cost a lot more which is a damper on FIRE, but the flip-side is they're durable and are representative of where our values are.

"We vote for what exists in this world with our wallets."
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:10 AM   #17
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I avoid Chinese broccoli, and US and Canadian beef (BSE).

Then again I freely indulge Scotch whisky, which is probably a more certain toxin.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:23 AM   #18
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To answer your questions: No and YES


Are you serious that you spent (how much?) time researching a snow scraper and were excited to 'score' a canadian brush? Come on! live a little

like someone said, the heritage of these items is NOT transparent, so although you may feel you are doing the right thing, you might not be at all


i understand not wanting to brush baby's teeth with chinese toothpaste....but some things seem a little overboard. and since you are just now starting to research the origins of these products, you might as well scrap ALL the stuff you already have....after all...what good's a canadian ice scraper when your gloves were made in thailand? What kind of car do you drive? was all of your furniture made and assembled here? wouldnt want baby gnawing on chinese lead. of course, you dont want baby watching tv on a foreign made set...so good luck with that. i guess im just thinking its a bit overboard?

this reminds me of the recent thread about trying to go green with a hybrid car to save $$ and save gas and save the environment...then BAAAM you're hit in your 1200 lb plastic car by a gas-guzzlin SUV and you die. was it worth it?
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:35 AM   #19
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I've been seeing more and more people looking for goods not made in China...it's a fairly new phenomenon. I think you could make a LOT of money if you could set up a website/store called "Anything and Everything NOT Made in China"...if you set up a team to research your product sourcing and obtain Certificates of Origin from your suppliers, the business would really be a service type business doing the pre-screening that is taking most of a buyers time when they shop for items. Sort of an Amazon or E-Bay type storefront model, just need to define the scope of initial product families to focus on.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:21 AM   #20
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"We vote for what exists in this world with our wallets."
Or as Jesus said 2000 years ago For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21).

We too are making increased efforts to buy locally grown, organic and "free trade" food. It is expensive but we think worth it. To my way of thinking, everything has a certain price in raw materials, human labor and environmental impact. Yes, I can buy manufactured goods made in China for less dollars today; but at what ultimate price in human misery. Similarly, non organic food is cheaper, but we all pay the price for increased use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
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