AMERICAN SAMOA SET TO BAN ALL CHINESE IMPORTS

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Aug 16) – American Samoa Governor Togiola is preparing an executive order that would impose an embargo on the "importation of all goods from mainland China" and has directed the Department of Health to form a task force to monitor "Chinese manufacture goods" that enter the Territory.

The governor made the announcement in an Aug. 14 letter to Health director Utoofili A. Maga following international media reports "of recalls for toys manufactured in China that contain lead paint, and small magnets ingestable by young children."

Mattel Inc., announced this week a worldwide recall involving 436,000 die cast "Sarge" cars related to the character from the movie "Cars" because it contained lead paint. It also extended a November 2006 recall of toys that contain magnets that can be swallowed by children; they included Polley Pocket dolls and Batman action figures. That recall now encompasses 18.2 million magnetic toys worldwide, the Associated Press reports, based on a Mattel statement.

Two weeks ago the company recalled 1.5 million products from its Fisher-Price unit worldwide. That recall, for lead paint, involved characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo, the AP said.

Yesterday, another toy maker, Hasbro Inc., announced it was intensifying the check on the safety of its toys manufactured in China due to the Mattel recall.

Besides the toy products, Togiola also informed Utoofili that other media reports "also identified products from China that contain poisonous chemicals."

Togiola requested Utoofili's cooperation in putting together a Task Force "to collect and examine samples of such imports coming directly into American Samoa of Chinese manufactured goods to determine their safety for our citizens especially young children."

"I am now preparing an Executive Order to impose an embargo on the importation of all goods from mainland China, until we can determine, case by case, which products are safe for importation and sales in American Samoa," he wrote and sought Utoofili's cooperation in expediting a task force.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory in June warning consumers to avoid several brands of toothpaste made in China because the products may contain diethylene glycol, or DEG.

International media reports says diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in two brands of toothpaste that appear to have originated in China.

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