When China rejects something because of its toxicity, we know that it must be quite bad. After all, they had no problem poisoning their own infants with melamine, and they apparently consider lead to be an essential nutrient for children. However, they recently rejected six tons of American cherries, because they were laced with pesticides. The Chinese do not tolerate even trace amounts of the pesticide malathion, and we fully understand why.
Malathion is the most common pesticide used in the United States, and the E.P.A. estimates that about 30 million pounds are used annually. There have been very few human studies using this pesticide (any volunteers?), so most data comes from animal studies and test tube analysis' of human cells. Feeling safer now?
Malathion is a known cholinesterase inhibitor, which means that it prevents the transmissions of nerve impulses. This neurotoxic effect can lead to tremors, Parkinson's Disease, and reproductive defects. The reproductive effects are so extreme that it can render sperm completely paralyzed. Malathion's health effects seem almost limitless. It is a known mutagen, which means that it causes genetic damage, so we will see some of its effects in generations not yet born, over a period of many decades. These victims will supposedly have been born with "genetic disorders". It is also worth noting that studies indicate greater occurrences of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in farmers who use this pesticide, just as researchers have observed breast cancers in rats exposed to it.
The environmental effects are also extreme. It causes major health problems for birds, earthworms, frogs, toads, and fish. If the green movement were sincerely interested in protecting the environment, they would spend less time recycling plastics (which does more to pollute the air) and spend more time fighting the large corporations who are directly killing animals, destroying the nutritional value of our soils, and slowly causing us to become diseased and sick.
We will be following the events concerning the Chinese rejection of American exports, because we have cause for alarm when the Chinese have more stringent safety and human rights policies than us. Taiwan officials are preparing to inspect American slaughterhouses, because their country has placed a ban on importations of "skulls, brains, eyes, and internal organs". That's right, those beef burgers may contain more than you expect. Some frozen hamburgers contain a list of ingredients, and it's fairly common to see "beef hearts" listed.
Be fully informed about what you purchase, and buy organic whenever possible. Malathion, along with other pesticides and insecticides, are present in non-organic foods, and even in municipal water supplies. Be informed, for the sake of your grandchildren.
Table source: Journal of Pesticide Reform: Malathion Factsheet
Poisonous Christmas Lights, Toys, and Trees