Some troubling findings from a new report on homeland security.
This morning, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) released a new report that suggests America’s dependence on overseas suppliers could leave the nation less safe and less secure in the face of a potential disaster.
The report, co-authored by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Robert B. Stephan, found that many key components and technologies supporting critical infrastructure are no longer manufactured in the United States.
Some troubling examples:
- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an estimated 100,000 rebuilding projects—primarily residential—utilized drywall from China. That drywall subsequently proved toxic, yielding health problems that forced untold numbers of families to have to leave their homes. The drywall was found to contain excessive amounts of toxic sulfur, leading to extensive corrosion of electric wires, air conditioning coils, appliances and other metals and metals products. The Chinese drywall also contributed to significant health problems, including nosebleeds, headaches, sinus problems, and respiratory ailments.
- Hurricane Katrina struck 466 facilities that handle large amounts of dangerous chemicals, thirty-one hazardous waste sites and sixteen Superfund toxic waste sites, three of which flooded. The storm also destroyed or compromised approximately 170 drinking water facilities and forty-seven wastewater treatment works along.
- Between 2000 and 2011, America saw the permanent closure of some 66,486 factories, with almost 1,300 manufacturing jobs lost per day. It’s estimated that an additional 90,000 manufacturing companies are currently at risk of shutting their doors permanently.
- The percent change in manufacturing employment during the 2000’s was even worse than in the Great Depression-- 33.1% vs. 30.9%.
- The Asian-Pacific market accounts for 84% of global production of printed circuit boards (PCB) used in tens of thousands of consumer and defense applications. The U.S. once dominated PCB production with 42% of global revenues in 1984, but revenues have since fallen to less than 8% in 2008.
- In the 2000’s, Chinese cement was used in 50% of all home foundations poured in the U.S.
- Approximately 70 percent of the world’s supply of penicillin and two-thirds of its supply of aspirin are manufactured in China.
- In 2008, China produced 500 million tons of steel in 2008, more than five times the amount of U.S. producers.
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