Thursday, October 30, 2008

Haunted Houses and Other Frightening Things~

Halloween is a fun and much celebrated holiday.

Please go the extra step to protect the children.

According to Amnesty International, almost half of all cocoa beans are grown in West Africa, where over a quarter of a million children labor on farms under terrible conditions for little or no pay. Fair Trade Certified chocolate is grown with no child labor, under ecologically sustainable conditions, and the workers are paid a living wage for their efforts.

Unethical labor practices aren’t the only danger lurking in the candy sack. A recent outbreak of melamine contamination in certain Chinese products, most famously infant formula, caused the Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings against several products sold in the United States. White Rabbit "milk" toffees made the list, along with Blue Cat flavored drinks and Koala’s March Crème filled cookies. You might also want to screen any foil-wrapped "coins" in your child's trove: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled Sherwood "Pirate's Gold" milk chocolate coins due to melamine. The Center for Disease Control says that ingestion of melamine can affect kidney function, leading to kidney stones and kidney failure.

Sometimes the danger doesn’t come from candy. While it’s a green and healthy idea to give out crayons, coloring books, stickers, and other little toys to trick or treaters instead of candy, in 2007 Fisher-Price recalled 1 million lead-contaminated children’s toys manufactured in—wait for it—China. The Center for Disease Control cautions that plastic jewelry, glossy little toys, and various candies from China or Mexico could still be contaminated.

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