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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
China Lead Smelter Causes Illness in Children
|Author||Topic: China Lead Smelter Causes Illness in Children|
posted 03-14-2010 03:22 PM ET (US)
For all you folks who like to get cheap AGM batteries made in China, I wanted to mention that lead smelters in China are causing serious illness to children that live near them. A report from last fall says:
"The largest lead smelting company in China has recently admitted responsibility in contributing to pollution leading to poisoning in almost 1,000 children residing near lead factories. Out of 2,743 children tested for lead poisoning, 968 were determined to have excessive lead levels in their blood. Lead poisoning causes anemia, brain damage, and muscle atrophy, among other serious medical and environmental problems. Lead levels in blood samples from the children were 5 times higher than safe limits."
I know everyone enjoys getting a bargain, but it seems unconscionable to buy a lead-acid battery made in China in order to save a few bucks, while the environmental pollution from the smelting of lead to make that battery may have killed children.
Consumers were sensitized to the plight of the dolphin and urged to avoid buying tuna that were caught in a manner harmful to dolphin. I'd like to sensitize you to the dangers of buying batteries made in China and the possible effect on Chinese children.
Now plans are in place to re-open smelters. Local residents say their children are still sick and there has been little done to help them. See:
Based on this background, I cannot recommend purchase of any battery made in China. I'd hate to think the $20 I saved meant some poor kid was going to be brain damaged for life.
posted 03-14-2010 06:26 PM ET (US)
Which marine batteries are manufactured in China?
posted 03-14-2010 11:46 PM ET (US)
Many AGM batteries are made in China. One of the biggest difference between AGM batteries and conventional flooded cell batteries is the ability to ship them with a full charge. You can't really ship flooded cell batteries filled with acid. They're usually shipped dry and filled at the point of local distribution. AGM batteries come over from China on a boat ready to sell, as they are sealed.
posted 03-15-2010 02:15 AM ET (US)
The Cabela's AGMs have been reported by some who recently purchased them to be made in China.
posted 03-15-2010 06:25 PM ET (US)
The Cabela's AGM batteries are made in China...at least that's what the box it come in says. Problem is, I would have no idea that they are made in China prior to ordering one.
posted 03-15-2010 06:59 PM ET (US)
I was ready to order a couple myself recently until reading about the country of origin on the THT forum.
Not a big fan of legislating just to do it but would like to see a requirement for catalog and internet sellers to identify where their products are manufactured. Don't know if required but many will say imported for clothing as Cabela's does, but not the country.
posted 03-15-2010 08:15 PM ET (US)
Optima AGM batteries are made in Mexico.
posted 03-15-2010 10:20 PM ET (US)
It was not always the case that Optima batteries were made in Mexico. They used to be made in Colorado. The plant in Colorado was just closed down recently, the work moved to Mexico, and all employees furloughed. A local television station covered this story:
posted 03-15-2010 11:05 PM ET (US)
I think this is what is meant by increasing our exports by 5X. Export of jobs that is.
Sorry about the political commentary but I couldn't resist. Feel free to delete.
posted 03-16-2010 01:30 AM ET (US)
Dave--I guess there is some Geo-politics in something as simple as buying a lead-acid battery these days. There was a time when you would never see something as heavy and as inexpensive as a lead-acid battery being shipped 14,000-miles to be sold.
I like to save $20 as much as (or more than) the next guy, but I am not going to buy a lead-acid battery made in China. After I heard the radio report (linked above) about the total brush-off given to this problem of lead poisoning of children near smelters in China, the dots started to connect.
Here we are in America, with enough affluence to go out in our privately owned boats for RECREATION, and we are going to buy our batteries from China--where children are being poisoned by lead smelters--so we can save $20. Oh, and by the way, we can put all the domestic battery makers out of business while we are at it. A double whammy. That is not the kind of world I want to live in.
Lead is an interesting element. It is very highly recycled. Most of the lead in a battery is probably from re-cycled lead. Now think about what that means in terms of buying a battery from China. To make a battery in China, you have to ship back the old battery from America to get recycled. Then you make a new battery in China. Then you ship it to America, That's two trips across the Pacific. How can you sell a battery at a profit when there is the cost of two trips across the Pacific ocean for each battery sold? I think the answer is you have to be able to make it dirt cheap. That's dirt cheap as in low cost of labor, no environmental costs, and no import tariffs. Once that made-in-China battery hits the west coast, we still have to truck the thing to the point of sale. In my case that is another 1,800-miles. Do you know what the freight cost is for shipping 80-lbs from Los Angeles to Detroit? It is not cheap.
posted 03-16-2010 06:39 AM ET (US)
The recommended lowest temperature this battery should be exposed to is 5 degrees F. Extended exposure to lower temperatures will shorten the operational life of the battery; impact damage can occur to the case at lower temperatures. (per manufacturer)"
Finding out they are made in China, seeing their non-marine standard terminals and reading the above I came to the conclusion the batteries are not specifically designed for marine use. They are probably just off the shelf power supply batteries and not even suitable for use in any type of vehicle. What a deal.
posted 03-16-2010 08:45 AM ET (US)
I recently purchased a Cablea's AGM Group 24 1100 MCA battery as I had a coupon, and they were on sale.
When it arrived, I too was surprised to see it was apparently made in China. I was also surprised by the terminal sizes. They are both the same, and are actually threaded holes rather than studs, like most batteries. Also, they are supplied with metric M6x1.5 bolts if I remember correctly--which required washers for the battery cables to properly fit.
posted 03-16-2010 10:15 AM ET (US)
Remember glen e posting about using ss fender washers and getting a very good connection when he used them.
posted 03-16-2010 10:28 AM ET (US)
Has it not always been thus.
posted 03-16-2010 12:56 PM ET (US)
Another factor in shipping batteries from overseas is that because of their weight most of the space in the shipboard container is empty.
posted 03-16-2010 01:50 PM ET (US)
Thought they filled the rest of the containers with China made foam packing peanuts.
posted 03-16-2010 03:33 PM ET (US)
This is an interesting discussion. If you search the intetrnet looking for "SKU" you can find sites that can define the location of manufacture based on that information.
You will be shocked by the number of products that are not made in the USA. The fact is that regulations and tort policies of the US force many manufacturers overseas.
The actual freight cost for shipping the batteries from china is actually quite reasonable based on the selling price.
While I do not condone destroying the environment, in China if you force the plant to close, you put the familys of the children out of work. The factories house and feed a large majority of the "worker" population in China.Many familys live on the factory grounds in apartment houses built by the government for the factory owner (factory was government built also) to help house the huge numbers of people in the country. The government mandates this as a method of taking care of the population with out welfare.
The Chinese government is active in recycling and environmental protection, just not a vocal as the US. The culture is different and the value of human life is not held as high as it is here. In the streets of Shanghi / NingBo many familys enjoy outings on scooters (cars are expensive) so it is not uncommon to see Dad, Mom and baby on a scooter made to haul 1 person, and usually the child is standing on dad's lap holding on to the handle bars.
posted 03-16-2010 03:45 PM ET (US)
I am going to edit the SKU statement after verifying the information on SNOPEs. It may provide you with the country of orgion.
posted 03-16-2010 08:17 PM ET (US)
EnerSys, the maker of Odyssey batteries, had thier plant in Warrensburg MO. featured on History Channel.
posted 03-17-2010 06:03 PM ET (US)
I dont recommend you buy much of anything made outside the US,,Yes it not easy and at times impossible but if you let the store mananger know you want more American Made items it does make a difference,,"YOU" can do without and or "MAKE" your own stuff
posted 03-17-2010 08:03 PM ET (US)
I don't try to make an argument that you must never buy anything not made in the United States. Suppose you want to buy a Honda outboard? Or a BMW automobile? These are fine products and made overseas. They're made in countries where the labor force is not exploited, where the environment is not polluted, and where the residents near the manufacturing facility are not being harmed by the process.
An interesting event occurred this week: the mainstream media began reporting that China was displaying new behavior, and China has begun a new phase in its relationship with the West. China says it is no longer willing to adopt Western thinking and ideas in some areas. Apparently, protecting children and the environment from lead poisoning and pollution are too Western for China to embrace now. I suggest you adopt an appropriate response with your choice of products you purchase.
|Tom W Clark||
posted 03-17-2010 08:38 PM ET (US)
I have never owned a battery made by AGM.
I have no intention of buying a battery made by AGM.
My boat was made in the USA.
The motors on my boat were made in the USA.
My truck was made in the USA.
My house was made in the USA.
Does that make me righteous?
posted 03-17-2010 09:08 PM ET (US)
Tom--AGM is not a brand or manufacturer.
posted 03-17-2010 09:17 PM ET (US)
ASIDE to Tom: Do you buy farm-raised salmon?
|Tom W Clark||
posted 03-17-2010 10:19 PM ET (US)
Jim -- my comments are still perfectly true.
I never buy salmon raised on farms in China.
posted 03-18-2010 07:23 AM ET (US)
Optima's now made in Mexico...that perhaps explains recent customer feedback I have seen saying the quality of these batteries is not what it used to be.
I have yet to buy AGMs...I just don't put the hours on my boat right now to justify twice the expense over wet cells.
posted 03-18-2010 08:31 AM ET (US)
That you don't put many hours on your boat is a good reason to consider AGM batteries.
My experience with AGMs is that mine have never needed to be recharged between uses even when unused for almost four months. No other battery I've owned has had this characteristic and I've enjoyed not having to "top off" the batteries before using the boat.
Another feature I value as much or more than excellent charge retention is that there is never a requirement to add water to the electrolyte or clean the terminals with a baking soda/water mixture.
I would think this would make AGM batteries a better choice than wet cell batteries for boats used less frequently.
Just my opinion while recognizing your own cost benefit situation may differ.
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