Protect China’s Farmers From Toxic Waste

Target: President Obama

Goal: Lower the domestic demand for cheap toxic metals made in China

When fields and factories lie side by side, local farmers and consumers run a high risk of being poisoned. In places like the Hunan Province, a top producer of rice and toxic metals like lead, cadmium, and chromium, factories let toxic runoff seep into waterways where it enters irrigation canals, endangering both wildlife and human health. Not only do toxic metals get into people’s meals, but also animal meat, as the husks of rice plants are fed to farm animals.

Chinese officials have recognized soil contamination as a serious threat to food safety and public health. They have produced a book from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and pollution monitoring systems should be in place by 2015.

However, Hunan in particular highlights the fact that, in China, food and metal production often compete, the former feeding the nation’s population while the latter grows its GDP.

Over in the United States, we look to China to supply primary lead at a competitive price, perhaps never thinking of the grave health consequences felt by those who provide it for us. Please sign the petition below, and demand improved domestic policy on metal processing that protects the environment and human health across the globe.


Dear President Obama,

I am writing to ask for your leadership in protecting the people of China from the health effects of toxic waste. To satisfy our domestic demand for primary lead, we look to China for a cost-effective deal. Many Americans may not realize that this trade endangers rural farmers and consumers.

In China, factories that process toxic metals lie right next to the farms where food crops are grown. Toxic runoff seeps into irrigation canals, contaminating water, threatening wildlife and putting countless human lives at risk for poisoning, cancer and other diseases.

We in the United States can help by reducing our demand for imported primary lead. I urge you to initiate policy that makes it economically viable to process metals in the States. This policy must also account for protection of the natural environment and human health. Please help us do our part at home to prevent further harm to these people and this ecosystem.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Takeaway via Wikimedia Commons

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