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Recalls of toys and other products have American consumers worried about imports from China.  What about the workers who make them? We hear how constant exposure to toxic chemicals wreaks havoc with health and safety. Who's paying the real cost of "cheap" merchandise? Would Congressional action do any good? Also, Iran responds to new economic sanctions, and the UN's latest Global Environment Outlook says the human population is outrunning the Earth's ability to sustain it.

Workers conduct quality-control checks on tires at the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company factory, 25 July 2007. Foreign Tire Sales, an importer in the US, has been hit by a lawsuit over a fatal accident and has filed an $80 million suit against the company and called for a recall of 450,000 of its tires. The firm has denied there are any problems and China's top quality-control agency also claimed that its own tests have vindicated the company. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Iran Denounces Administration's New Sanctions 5 MIN, 55 SEC

Yesterday, the US announced tough new economic sanctions against Iranian banks, key branches of the military, nine companies and five individual officials. Today, Iran's foreign minister denounced them as "worthless and ineffective."  Farah Stockman reports for the Boston Globe.

Farah Stockman, The New York Times (@fstockman)

Main Topic Are Chinese Workers Paying the Price for Cheap Goods? 37 MIN, 53 SEC

Some 21 million toys made in China and imported by the United States have been recalled because of lead paint or other dangerous defects. With the holidays approaching, that has Americans worried and angry about possible health affects on their children. Yet while trying to improve its 21st Century standing by sending men to the moon, China's workers are living and dying in 19th Century conditions. That's according to journalistic investigations and testimony to Congress, which is looking at a proposal to ban imports from overseas "sweatshops," where Chinese workers are exposed all day, every day to Benzene, Lead, Cadmium, Toluene, Nickel and Mercury. We hear about workers exposed to a witches' brew of cancer-causing chemicals 84 hours a week for 53¢ an hour. Already worried about product safety, will US consumers pay more for the safety of human beings 5000 miles away?

Loretta Tofani, veteran journalist
Ted Fishman, 'China, Inc'
Robert Kapp, former President, US-China Business Council
Charles Kernaghan, Executive Director, National Labor Committee

Reporter's Notebook Bequeathing a Ravaged Planet to Future Generations 4 MIN, 52 SEC

In 450 million years, there have been five mass extinctions of species around the world.  The latest of was 65 million years ago. Now a sixth is underway, caused by human behavior. That's according to the fourth Global Environment Outlook, out today from the United Nations. But despite reporting success in combating ozone loss and chemical air pollution, and saying it did not want to present a "dark and gloomy scenario," the GEO-4 concluded that the human population is now so large there are not enough resources available to sustain it. Andrew Revkin is environment reporter for the New York Times.

Andrew Revkin, ProPublica (@Revkin)

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