Beijing consumers facing unsafe trousers risk

By Lu Na
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, April 12, 2011
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A survey by the Beijing Consumers' Association (BCA) found nearly 40 percent of casual trousers fail to meet national standards and some can cause serious skin diseases.

BCA staff purchased casual trousers, including big brand names, from several of Beijing's major shopping malls. Of 57 brands tested, 21 failed to meet national standards, including famous names such as ZARA, Marlboro, G-Star, G2000, Hush Puppies and W&M.

Beijing Consumers Association staff check the survey report. 

Most of the trousers tested are very expensive, typically costing from 400 yuan to more than 1,000 yuan. They are nevertheless very popular among consumers. Some were made in China, others in Vietnam, India, Bengal, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Romania and Hong Kong.

The main safety issues found concerned formaldehyde content, PH value, and color fastness. The formaldehyde content in two brands exceeded legal limits; in three brands the PH value exceeded legal limits, and 16 brands were found to lose color easily.

Beijing Consumers Association report on casual trousers. 

The National Safety Technical Code for Textile Products lays down strict standards on formaldehyde content, PH value and color fastness. Too high a PH value can cause skin allergies. The same problem may arise if the dye is not fast. Wearing clothes with too high a formaldehyde content can cause headaches, dermatitis and eczema.

Another six brands were found to have labeled their fiber contents inaccurately. For example, a pair of ZARA casual trousers was labeled 75 percent cotton, 20 percent wool and 5 percent Dacron but the actual percentages were 68.2, 10.6 and 15.7, respectively. The trousers also contained 4 percent acrylic fiber and 1.5 percent viscose.

China's national standards divide clothing into three categories. Category A covers infant and teenage products, category B covers products that make direct contact with skin, and category C applies to products that make indirect contact with the skin. The formaldehyde content of B-category clothes must be less than or equal to 75mg per kilogram. For C-category clothes the ratio is 300mg per kilogram.

None of the brands has yet commented on the investigation.

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