What I'm Seeing Now


I Think We Need To Recall China

For a long time now, I am signed on to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to receive their emails. The send me recall notices. I told them which things I wanted notices on – consumer products, toys, tools, electrical, etc. – and they send me emails when testing orders a recall. I do it to help myself be a better home inspector.

Some days I get four or five. I get them nearly EVERY DAY.

I cannot keep up with it all! I do not know how the CPSC keeps up with it all! They must have a quillion employees. I am forever writing down products, brands, serial numbers – it is a never-ending effort.

And it is shocking!

Here is my problem – for the categories that I am emailed about, way over 90% of the recalled products are manufactured in China. Maybe 1 or 2% of the recalls are manufactured here. I realize that a huge portion of the Chinese economy comes from trade with the United States. You’d think they would want to be more careful. Enough of this could have a serious economic impact on them. Well, that is, if we wise up...

Question: The Chinese are NOT incompetent people. Why aren’t they more careful?

Answer: Since they are not incompetent people, it must be intentional.

It has been insidious. It is pervasive! So many of the products we use everyday are produced in China. It is a huge list. And a frightful one. Food (and DOG food) that is tainted and deadly. Clothing, and pajamas, and sheets, and curtain material and furniture material that will quickly and easily burn. Baby toys that are full of lead and mercury, and do not need to be. Video and computer games that have embedded programming worms that will damage computers, or make it easy to obtain information from them.  Light fixtures that have insufficiently-sized wiring and will burn. Circuit breakers, which look EXACTLY like those produced by American manufacturers, that are meant to cause a fire in time. Improperly sealed batteries that will leak poisons – poisons not found in our batteries. And these batteries look just like ours.

The list goes on and on.

It used to be that this, and other cultures of piracy, only used to mimic successful products for the profit of selling knock offs at a cheaper price (that is, after someone else’s brains, entrepreneurship, and risk taking got a popular product to market). Now the piracy seems intent on doing damage.

The emails continue to come.

One has to wonder – with all the good work the CPSC is doing to catch this stuff, what all is getting in that they are NOT catching?

One has to wonder.

When I see the sticker, “Made in China,” I shy away. But their products are impossible to avoid.

I think we need to recall China.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 7 commentsJay Markanich • January 22 2009 04:44PM


Maybe, in order to recall China we'd have to have a place to send it back to.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 11 years ago

Jack - a friend on another message board said they would want to be bailed out...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Finally!  Someone who agrees with me that it must be intentional, because they are not stupid and are not making mistakes. 

During Christmas my husband and I were wandering through some stores, looking for casual china dinnerware;  everywhere we looked, price tags were applied directly over the name of the country where the product was made.  Interestingly, every price tag was "peeling" up as other people before us had also wanted to see country of origin.  Yep, it was always China!  Clearly, we are not the only ones rejecting as many Chinese made goods as humanly possible.

Did we get our casual dinnerware?  Not yet, but when we do decide what to get, it will be Lenox (made in the US) or Fitz and Floyd (made in Germany) or perhaps something manufactured in the UK.  Will we pay more?  Considerably, but it is worth every penny.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 11 years ago

Susan - I am not trying to be combative, or mean, or debate anyone - I think this is a pressing problem.  I used the word "insidious" which means growing in a subtle way.  I used the word "pervasive" because it is widespread, and getting more so.  I could say more. 

There have been many "conformity agreements" with the Chinese.  There have been many "cooperative agreements" with them.  There have been many "labeling agreements" with them.  There have been fines for corporate executives.  Yet the problem continues to grow.  Product contents are knowingly violated.  Product labels are knowingly "misbranded" to use the CPSC word.  And they pour in.  "Agreements " are apparently worthless.

My question remains - what is getting in that is not being found?

Much of the importing is of products directed at children.  Why?  These products look EXACTLY like safe American products.  Are they intended to be mingled in with the safe toys?  What other explanation could there be?  Much of the importing is collaborative with Chinese/American companies here.  Why?

If I was your home inspector and said to you that the oven, or dishwasher, or venetian blinds or whatever were unsafe, or recalled, and gave you an 800 number to call, wouldn't you appreciate that?  The problem is Susan - I CANNOT KEEP UP WITH IT ALL...  It's going to get to the point where home inspectors are going to need disclaimers on their agreements...!


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Jay, No doubt that many products from China are problematic. It seems everything in the stores these days is made there. Interesting theory and I am beginning to wonder the same.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 11 years ago

James - as I said before, this is a pressing problem, with more to come.  I am trying to be informative, not smash mouth.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 11 years ago

Can we recall India, too? It seems like the half-rate products come out of China and the horrible customer service comes out of India. Ever sat on hold with an airline or credit card company only to be greeted by some incompetent person with an accent so heavy you can't understand more than every seventh word? And even then, they're reading from a script. "That must be so frustrating for you." Grrrr!

Posted by Lanna over 11 years ago

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