Siberian Wood

Builders, contractors, do it yourself enthusiasts – everyone loves hardwood floors. Pre-cut sections  practically snap together. Flashy laminates – cost effective and abundant, fuel a growing hardwood economy. Big box chains like Lumber Liquidators happily supply oblivious consumers.

Why oblivious? Call it the Walmart, dollar store, price cutter syndrome – consumers demand low prices, something mega industrial China delivers.  Ignorance is bliss – inexpensive,  gargantuan retail offerings lull even the steadfast, into consumer bliss. Powerless in the face of skillful marketers, Home and Garden television, infallible sense of superiority, misguided notions of government regulation, and good old fashioned desire – North America fuels questionable Chinese imports with nary a blink.

Back to your pretty new hardwood floor – you might want to put on a face mask, chances are it’s giving off toxic levels of Formaldehyde – but I’m getting ahead of myself.  An 80% probability says your laminate floor once stood tall in Siberian forests. Incidentally, the same forest inhabited by Earth’s remaining 500 wild Siberian Tigers – vast stands of old growth white oak forest, some in national parks, others on private land, all home to a handful of remaining big cats. So what’s the problem?

Wood flooring translates to fortunes in coffers of those able to supply demand. Enter the Russian mafia – a highly organized criminal organization with resources and muscle to match. Dismiss cover of darkness, snatch and run operations – this is the Russian mob. Illegal logging operations on a unprecedented scale see an endless stream of train cars taking lumber across the border into China.

Suifenhe Xingjia has 3 factories and 13 sawmills in north east China – in 2011, Xingjia exported $600 million of hardwood flooring – the majority to America, followed by western Europe, Canada and Japan. Big box retailer Lumber Liquidators acquired almost all their laminate flooring from China.

Your new floor is so pretty, maybe you don’t care about losing a species of Tiger, Russian mobsters or Chinese factories. Perhaps it never occurred to you that cheap Chinese imports undermine legitimate local businesses. Oh well – not your problem – your floor looks great and didn’t break the bank. I wonder how you feel about carcinogens?

Why did your Lumber Liquidators flooring cost less than domestic hardwood? Are you a savvy shopper who knows how to find a deal, or a patsy conned into believing low cost comes without a price? The “price” of inexpensive Chinese flooring is Formaldehyde. In a random sampling over 3 years, 6 of 8 hardwood floor panels leached unacceptable levels of carcinogens. Read the link below…

If compelled to learn about bribes, falsified documents,woefully inadequate regulation and testing of hardwood imports, indifferent government officials, toxic formaldehyde, endangered Siberian Tigers – an investigation by Canadian reporters at 16×9…..×9-an-investigation-into-illegal-lumber/



Made in China

It goes without saying that China is complicated.That said; messy politics doesn’t excuse flagrant disregard for health and safety. Pursuit of the almighty dollar has gripped the Chinese, who could blame them. The west has rolled out the red carpet, trade with China has exploded. We’re left to reap what we sow.

I’ve posted about tainted Chinese honey and pondered Chinese “ghost cities“.  While the bizarre existence of ghost cities; something the Chinese credit to real estate speculation, only serves to illustrate how strange China has become – honey is the story. Honey, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, toys, jewellery, pet food, ceramics, the list is as endless as it is scary.  This is not a ponder, rather a dire warning – think very hard before you purchase anything “made in china”.

We can’t apply western standards to their factories, we all live with goods produced in many countries where conditions are deplorable. Knowing that massive Chinese factories have installed “suicide nets” in response to factory workers leaping to their death, rather than face another day; isn’t the story. The story is what the Chinese put on store shelves.

Never mind the counterfeit goods, the knock off’s of designer apparel or pirated discs. Lets think about the supposedly legitimate goods we gobble up at bargain prices. Children’s toys and jewellery contaminated with lead and cadmium. Cosmetics with ridiculous lead content, pet food snuffing out Fido because of Melamine contamination. Pharmaceuticals sub standard and lethal, food products full of illegal antibiotics and pesticides.

It is beyond me how anyone could think this is OK. I can’t imagine what it will take to snap people out of their dream world and say – enough. For anyone who doesn’t think it effects them, think again. More than half the apple juice we consume comes from China, 90 % of Vitamin C, fish, vegetables and fruit are imported in staggering amounts. Food inspectors turn back thousands of Chinese shipments a year; in reality they are only capable of inspecting 1% of the imported goods.

The west will continue to be “played the fool” until we take a stand and refuse “Made in China”