Another clothing chemical warning

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am

An inspection of casual wear sold in department stores in Guangzhou has found that 22 per cent of the garments exceeded permitted levels of chemicals, including some that might cause cancer.

A Guangzhou Industry and Commerce Bureau survey of 100 batches of garments in 17 department stores and supermarkets during the past fortnight found problems with brands such as Esprit, Danish label Vero Moda and France's Etam, the Southern Metropolis News reported.

The news comes a week after Shanghai authorities announced that clothes made by top international labels were found to contain excessive levels of chemicals that could cause respiratory and skin problems.

Guangzhou inspectors found one Esprit T-shirt had a high level of acid, which could cause skin irritation and infection. Esprit's Hong Kong headquarters declined to comment yesterday.

The bureau said 15 per cent of the casual wear inspected contained excessive aromatic amine dyes that might cause cancer. In 15 samples of labels such as Vero Moda and Etam, the levels were 10 times higher than permitted. The clothes were ordered removed from shelves, and stores that sold the garments would be punished.

An expert from the Guangzhou Textile and Fibre Inspection Institute said the chemicals would only be absorbed into the skin if the dyes came into direct contact with the skin for a long period. 'But I have never heard of a single cancer case caused by the dyes,' she said.

The Guangdong Garment Trade Association said it would act to enhance production quality by focusing on the entire industry supply chain. It said all suppliers, no matter whether they supplied dyes, fabrics or manufactured clothes, were involved in product safety.

Association vice-president Liu Xiansheng said garment factories could only provide suitable products if they were able to supervise their suppliers.