Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Samsonite’s Tokyo Chic hit by Hong Kong health scare

AFP, HONG KONG

US luggage maker Samsonite yesterday said it had withdrawn some of its suitcases from Hong Kong stores after a consumer group found they contained high levels of chemicals that may cause cancer.

The company said its Tokyo Chic brand had been taken off the shelves even though its own tests indicated there was no threat to consumers from the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the side-carrying handles.

“The company’s independent test results found PAH levels that were significantly lower than those reported by the [Hong Kong] Consumer Council,” Samsonite said in a statement, referring to a local consumer watchdog.

“Based on the independent test results, as well as on expert advice the company has received, the company is confident that consumers can continue to use its luggage products without any safety or health concerns,” it said.

It said that to “allay any concerns that consumers may have,” Tokyo Chic luggage had been withdrawn from all of its points of sale in the Chinese territory, a regional banking hub and key market for luxury brands.

The side-carrying handles on Tokyo Chic luggage would be replaced with a “next-generation handle” for concerned customers in Hong Kong.

The statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where the US company is publicly traded, added that there were “no legal standards prescribing PAH levels in luggage.”

“The company continually monitors applicable legal requirements and strives to ensure that its products meet not only legal standards but also the highest standards of product quality and safety,” it said.

Samsonite said the move to withdraw Tokyo Chic bags from the Hong Kong market would have no material affect on its financial results.

The consumer council published an article last week saying certain Samsonite suitcases contained unsafe levels of PAH, according to benchmarks set under a voluntary German certification scheme.

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