Country is awash with dodgy goods
Market flooded with toxic toys and lethal electrical products
IRELAND is awash with dangerous Chinese products ranging from cheap electrical goods that pose a fire hazard, to asthma-inducing clothing sprayed with toxic Formaldehyde.
However, there is no agency with responsibility for policing the safety or quality of the imports which have flooded Ireland in recent years.
Already this year, toxic toothpaste containing anti-freeze and toys painted in toxic lead have turned up in stores. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In April, the EU Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Non-Food Products, identified 900 products from cheap cigarette lighters to toys, and recommended that they were too dangerous to be sold. Over 440 of the products were manufactured in China.
"The EU rapid alert system is tackling dangerous products. The onus is on manufacturers, distributors and traders to take appropriate action, up to including a recall, if they become aware that a product may present a risk to health and safety. This measure is working very well, and more than half of recalls taken throughout the EU are on foot of voluntary measures." says Catherine Leonard, of the National Consumer Agency. Earlier this month, Mattel Toys had to recall 18.2 million toys when it was discovered that the toys were painted with toxic lead.
US Government Trade Inspectors, the FDA and other agencies have now become extremely vigilant and are banning Chinese imports wholesale. Some of the nastier products which were recently banned from sale include:
DIY electric saws with faulty blades that have cut people's hands off.
Ornamental glass ashtrays that spontaneously disintegrate.
Electric heaters with faulty wiring that have burnt homes to the ground.
Cigarette lighters that turn into a ball of fire.
Poisoned pet food contaminated with melamine, which earlier in the year killed hundreds of dogs and cats.
Table candles encased in a plastic shell which melt and ignite.
Bike frames that disintegrate.
Infant car seats which release children on impact.
Car tyres which are un-roadworthy.
The list is endless, including wheat gluten tainted with melamine, to monk fish imports which turned out to be toxic putter fish.
The nature of the global economy means that cheap products with a 400 per cent mark-up are as likely to be on sale in Ireland as they are in the USA or the UK:
According to the Central Statistics Office, last year €4.4 billions worth of Chinese goods were imported into Ireland. The majority of the goods were clothes, toys, electrical goods and fancy goods.