Toxic Earth

I am not sure how much people understand the problem that is being posed by China’s cavalier attitude to product and environmental safety. If you think the toys your children are playing with are the only threat for toxicity you are wrong. Hidden problems exist.

Exactly what do you think is being done with the millions of tons of toys being recalled from lead and other heavy metal contaminants? I can tell you it will be one of two things. First, the toys will get distributed into countries with no standards for toxicity. Second, the products will be recycled. Now that may sound like a good option, but truthfully, it is not. The recycle process will separate and segregate the various parts for reprocessing. Metal pins and rods will get melted down and reformed. The plastic will get be reground and put back into the raw material supply chain.

The lead in these parts will not disappear by reheating and remolding into a new product.

On the plastic side, it is possible some of the regrind will be used for seemingly inert products, like dimensional plastic lumber. But others will be sold to plastic producers who will make who knows what with them. Most likely a lot of it will get molded into black plastic parts. Why black? Because black is the only color that will mask ALL other colors. I know this because I’m a plastic manufacturer. Internally, we reuse our scrap by regrinding and introducing small amounts back into the production process on certain parts. When making black parts we’ll increase the use of regrind. Because we are selective on the parts we will use our regrind on, we don’t use as much scrap as we make and sell it on the open market. So trust me, this is happening in China too.

The potential for toxicity is still very high and will require even more diligence on companies who are purchasing the finished products to test for heavy metal additives. There are lead test kits that home-owners can purchase, but what about all the other heavy metals such as Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, and Mercury.

Again this goes back to survival strategy. How will China’s disregard for human and environmental safety affect your personal survival, let alone the human species? This is something each of us needs to address on an individual level before contamination spirals out of control.