Consumer Alert:

Sweat Shops, Globalization and Investing

Introduction:

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Many of the purchases you make each day (clothes, electronics, shoes, etc.) have a direct effect on the lives of people you may never know. Not only are employers in other countries maintaining inhumane conditions for workers, news reports have disclosed that much of our food, drugs and toys are coming from China without being inspected first for safety. Lead paint and choking dangers have been discovered, plastics found in pet food and anti-freeze in toothpaste. In order to lower their production costs, American companies have chosen to transfer their factories or outsourceed their production to nations where environmental, worker and product safety standards are not enforced. In developing countries, worker injuries and exposure to toxic ingredients are widespread.

In the case of China, the growing U.S. deficit is being serviced by China, hence the F.D.A. and Consumer Products Safety Commission under the Bush Administration have turned a blind eye to trade violations for the past six years. All that began to change in March of 2007 when reports first surfaced about contaminated pet food killing pets. Suddenly the floodgates opened and a stream of recalls commenced. Consumer watchdog groups, however, claim that the revelations so far amount to the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food and product safety.

Years ago, South Africa ended decades of apartheid only when people around the world stopped doing business with its economy. This page provides links to organizations which can help you understand what's happening in the world and make better choices when shopping for products and investment options. Some also track the adoption and enforcement of international trade agreements.

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