Formaldehyde in children's clothes

Formaldehyde is nasty stuff that shouldn't be in clothes, yet a scientist employed by the New Zealand consumer TV program "Watchdog" found high levels in children's clothes:

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.

FT notes that textiles and clothing currently make up more than 13 per cent of China's exports.

Washington Post: NZ Investigates China Clothes Imports
Financial Times: Poison clothes add to China export scares


Pandabonium said…
I hope all the attention on China's consumer issues also succeeds in drawing attention to the fact that corporations everywhere are posing dangers with the way the do business.

There is a danger than China will become the "whipping boy" while American and other corporations continue to harm consumers and the environment.
Martin J Frid said…
...and to the fact that our pension funds and other stock market activities are also linked to how much profit said corporations can squeeze out of Chinese workers... The toxic substances used in China should be an issue for labour unions, as well as workers' protection agencies.

Frankly I am inclined to be less concerned about the impact on kids occasionally playing with a Mattel toy in a developed country - the daily exposure on the Chinese factory workers must be horrendous. Of course the Western media conveniently ignores that point.

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