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I’ve recently begun to notice that some mornings I get a rash on both cheekbones. It goes away in about a day, so I never thought much about it. Martha changed the detergent that we use on the bed sheets, but that had no real effect. I though it might be related to putting my hands on my face (since I write computer code in the AM and often prop my chin on my hand when debugging lines of code). But changing my 'pensive posture' had no effect either.
The last few nights I’ve crashed on the sofa in the den since I’ve been trying to catch up on the wonderful HBO series on John Adams. Surprisingly, these few nights, despite sleeping propped up on the most uncomfortable throw pillows imaginable, produced no rash. However this last night Martha came out and gave me one of the bedroom pillows. Next morning, alas, the rash was back. This got me thinking that something was in these pillows, or I just don’t get along with the pillow covers.
So off we went to Linens N’ Things, a franchise full of extraneous stuff you can buy for your house. I picked up a few hypoallergenic pillows (the old ones were down) and some new covers. The pillow covers had a few interesting, if unsettling facts included with the label:
- Your mattress will double in weight every ten years from dust mites and their droppings.
- 10% of the weight of a two-year-old pillow is composed of dust mites and their droppings.
Household dust, by the way, is a mainly human skin cells that have sloughed off. It is estimated that the entire outer layer of skin is shed every day or two at a rate of 7 million skin flakes per minute. Tests of indoor environmental dust in homes and offices have shown it to be primarily (70-90%) composed of skin flakes.
Tried the new pillows last night and so far no rash.
While at Linens N’ Things my daughter Emily and I played our new game which we call “Try To Find Something In The Store Not Made In China.’ It took a while but eventually I found a chopping block that was made in the U.S. Virtually 90% of the stock of this store was stuff ‘Made In China’. I’m told that the percentage in Wal-Mart is even higher.
Now, I have nothing personal against the Chinese, but I do not like the long-term significance of this trend. We in the US are being lulled and seduced into over-purchasing inexpensive goods from China, which destroy our local industries, increase credit card debt, and send our currency over there. Since the Chinese are not terribly interested in American products, they send the money back here in the form of business loans, many of which fronted the now collapsing home mortgage market.
I remember laughing in history class at how the local Indians sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $24 worth of mirrors and glass beads. Yet we're doing the same thing; the only difference being the substitution of modern day equivalents; plasma TV screens and vibrating recliners.
On top of it all, China is still as repressive a government as it ever was. There is no true freedom of speech, and rural workers are almost considered second-class citizens. Never mind what they are doing in Tibet right now and that their policy in Darfur is cynical beyond belief. Add the recent heparin scare and the mercury and lead in the painted toys and I'm thinking 'hey, this system does not need to be rewarded.'
So I’ve adopted what I call my 'New Organic' policy: Just like I am willing to pay a bit more to feed my family organic produce, I am now also willing to pay more to clothe my family in goods made in other countries besides China. I will pass up on the need to purchase George Foreman Grills, Fabreeze Room Fresheners and resin lawn furniture unless I can find products that are made by the inhabitants of democratic countries with decent human rights policies, ethical manufacturing standards and proper environmental responsibilities.
Yes, there will be less things in my life, but maybe that is the real hidden benefit of it all.
Troublemaker:: One Man’s Crusade Against China’s Cruelty
by Harry Wu
When I shop at stores I ask if they carry Canadian goods and if I notice that they carry them I always comment about it to the staff.
Interestingly , many store people tell me that lots of people are asking the same questions.
This is a real sore spot for me. In our industry, it is practically putting us out of business. So much is gotten from overseas because it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. Not just price wise, but quality wise. Yet their customers don’t care. We wonder why the economy here is getting poorer????? As Edwina says, yes, China is making some serious money off us. Yes, we need to stop giving it to them. Only making a true conscious choice not to buy from China is going to make a difference. Sometimes it’s easy to think “I’m only one person”, but if enough “one persons” make this same decision, then it speaks volumes.
Every time I call a company and I get someone overseas, it boils my blood. Now I know they need to make a living too, BUT, let’s keep our business and our money in our own country or pretty soon, we won’t have one left to call our own.
Andrea, thanks for the heads up on that Vancomycin. Wow! My husband just went thru a long round w/ that stuff a few mths back. That is scary!
bernadette, thanks for the link for buying toys other than from China!!!!
mateo, I agree on the air fresheners. I haven’t bought them in a very long time. I was surprised to see that in Dr. D’s blog.
Edwina, you better sleep w/ one eye open at night. You never know when the mites are coming to get you! :-))) I just saw on Oprah the other day about people who have night terrors. One gal always dreams about bugs attacking her. OMG, I be screaming too!!! It was a very interesting show and explained why night terrors happen.
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