Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Toys and Lead

I love Amazon's new Kindle ereader. What a great idea. People can purchase and download an ebook with one click. Then it's ready to read. I want one, but the Kindle's a little too pricey right now.

I sooo wish Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press would get in on this. A few years ago, their ebooks were available on Amazon.com. I don't know what happened. Now, Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press offer only their paperbacks on Amazon.com.

I adore Amazon.com. Where else can you get just about any book regardless of whether it's still in print or not? Plus, there are so many electronic gadgets, clothing stores, shoes, furniture, etc. Oh, I can spend days on Amazon.com making my holiday list. Even the wishlist feature is fun, like window shopping. I like being able to get everything in one place, in one cart.

The tricky thing this holiday season is toy shopping. Everything seems to be made in China and I don't want to give some lead-laden, brain damaging thing to a cutie pie. I looked about my house yesterday while vacuuming and realized that nearly everything in it, was made somewhere else, not in the US. It doesn't matter where you shop; look at the tags and flip everything over and you see "Made in China," or some other third-world nation.

What do we make anymore? What do we export to be able to afford all these imports? I don't know anyone who makes anything that's exported. Is this why the housing market is crashing? People are defaulting on their loans, not because they want to, but because they've lost their jobs. Where will they find new jobs if we export all our work?

I don't understand why businesses send their factories overseas, for this one reason - how can people without jobs buy imported products? My solution to this economic problem is to create a steep import tax, even on imported products from companies with headquarters in the US. Then use these funds to give grants to US based and run manufacturers, starting with toy makers.

I'm horrified by the drastic rise in learning disabilities amongst our youth. There's something wrong when numbers suddenly spike like that and we find lead in bibs and toys. Lead doesn't accidentily fall into vats of plastic and paint over and over again. It was used on purpose because lead-based dyes are cheaper. I don't mean cheaper for the consumer. We pay the same monetary price regardless of where or how the product was made. Toys weren't less affordable when they were made in the US under stricter standards. Now, it seems we've inadvertantly paid with our children's health and IQ for inferior products from third-world nations. It's frightening.

Did you ever imagine having to test brand new toys for lead before wrapping them to put under the tree?

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