Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Vietnam to check Chinese goods for formaldehyde contamination Read more: "Vietnam to check Chinese goods for formaldehyde contamination

Hanoi - Vietnam will inspect toys and clothing produced in China's Guangdong province after Chinese media last week reported that many products contained unsafe levels of the chemical formaldehyde, Vietnamese media reported Tuesday.

The state-run newspaper An Ninh Thu Do (Capital Security) quoted Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bui Xuan Khu as saying the ministry will ask agencies to check all imported toys and clothes from the province in southern China.

On May 28, authorities in Guangdong released a report that found almost 50 per cent of garments had failed to meet safety standards. Many of the garments contained unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

Thirty-two per cent of children's furniture was found to contain unsafe levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and chromium.

The news, which was reported in Vietnam on International Children's Day (June 1), distressed some Vietnamese parents.

'I am very worried about these products, because it could affect my child's health,' said Tran Thu Nga, 26, the mother of a five-year-old boy.

Khu said the ministry would publicize the results of the inspection to reassure consumers.

Formaldehyde caused a health scare in Vietnam in 2000 when authorities discovered food producers were using the chemical as a preservative in a variety of rice noodles.

The government shut down restaurants that were serving tainted noodles and fined several noodle producers, but in 2007 inspectors found many producers were still using the chemical.

Formaldehyde is used in embalming and to preserve body parts for medical purposes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), low levels of formaldehyde exposure can cause skin and eye irritation and asthma attacks. Some authorities consider the chemical a carcinogen, but the evidence is inconclusive.

Monsters and Critics

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