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Friday, March 11, 2011

China rejects harmful US-made health products

Over the recent years, China has been the target of controversies with regard exporting a wide array of products deemed toxic for consumption--from melamine-tainted milk, to toys with toxic levels of lead and to medicines or pet foods containing unsafe chemicals.
WikiLeaks cables showed that in 2007, a Chinese official was privately criticized by two US Congressmen--Rep. Rick Larsen (D, Washington) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R, Illinois)--for exporting to several countries potentially poisonous products, Reuters said.
During the time, about 20 million Made-in-China Mattel products were recalled, which were thought to be harmful by the famous American toy company.
In a sudden twist of events, the same American politicians--Larsen and Kirk--went to Beijing in 2009 to appeal to Chinese officials to reconsider its restriction of the use of medical equipments from a US company that failed to meet Chinese regulations.
Baxter is a known brand among health workers. Baxter Healthcare Corp. manufactures several medical products such as syringes, intravenous tubes and medicines, among others.
The Illinois-based company uses polyvinyl chloride (PVC)--a plastic softener that is banned in some countries--to manufacturer its blood bags for intravenous use. PVCs are frequently heard in the construction and fabric industries also.
A component of PVC known as Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or DEHP has been shown to accumulate in humans that may cause developmental abnormalities in children. DEHP has been banned in the EU this year.
Beijing, wanting to follow the same, said that it will only use intravenous bags containing no PVC.
Speaking for Baxter, Larsen and Kirk pressured Chinese authorities "to buy time for the company."
Known to uphold consumer safety, the US is clearly displaying a double standard.
During Kirk's reelection bid in 2008, Baxter was his third largest supporter, according to the report.
Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York said, "If we want to really focus on the issue, we've got to be consistent. You don't want to leave a credibility gap for the Chinese to criticize."
Details of this report here.

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