Poison Clothes Add to China Export Scares
Posted on: 2007-08-21 11:29:16

Cheap stuff costly

By Geoff Dyer in Shanghai

The safety problems affecting Chinese goods spread from toys to textiles on Monday as New Zealand said it would investigate allegations that imported children’s clothes contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

The government ordered the probe after scientists hired by a consumer watchdog programme discovered formaldehyde in Chinese clothes at levels of up to 900 times regarded as safe. Manufacturers sometimes apply formaldehyde to clothes to prevent mildew. It can cause skin rashes, irritation to the eyes and throat and allergic reactions.

The Warehouse, a New Zealand retailer, issued a recall at the weekend for children’s pyjamas made in China after two children were burned when their flannelette nightclothes caught fire.

The New Zealand investigation is the first time that the safety of Chinese clothes has been called into question; concerns have been raised over a series of Chinese products in recent months, including toys, food and toothpaste.

Last week, Mattel said it was recalling 18.2m toys globally because of hazards such as the use of lead paint.

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