To the editor:

The news almost weekly carries stories of items made in China that are health hazards — pet foods, toothpaste, candy and children’s toys. We know that China does not have a Food and Drug Administration to check quality and safety and has resisted inspections by our personnel.

China has an economy that is booming. Our trade deficit with China exceeds any we ever had with the Japanese. One big factor in China’s success is providing items cheaper than we can make or buy from other countries. A big part of this advantage is due to slave (prison) labor used in manufacturing.

We can help with this problem if we will be diligent to check items we buy to see the source of the product. Even if it costs a little more to buy domestic, each purchase is a step in helping our domestic economy. It will also assure safer products.

Even if items are made in Mexico or South America, it is to our benefit to buy them over Chinese products. Money going south helps reduce the number of people flowing north.

If we will each one urge our suppliers to segregate those items “Made in the USA” in a separate area, the stores will see a lot of people will buy only these. As stores see domestic items moving faster, they will tend to stock more of them.

It is understood that many people do not have a choice but to buy the cheaper products. However, at least half of those shopping American can make a significant difference in the balance of trade and also influence Chinese safety checks on their products.

Bob Hickey