Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers warn of toxic ghost money from China

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers warned yesterday that the large amount of ghost money local companies have imported from China might contain toxic chemicals.

Some ghost money vendors in the central and southern parts of the country have recently been aggressively promoting the use of Chinese ghost money prior to the upcoming Ghost Month, the seventh month of the lunar calendar, Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) and Hsueh Ling (薛凌) said.

WORRIED

But residents have told the lawmakers they were worried that the Chinese ghost money might contain chemical substances harmful to human health, the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

Following local tradition, people burn ghost money during Ghost Month as an offering to their ancestors and the gods to pray for peace, wealth and good health.

Hsueh urged the Consumers’ Foundation to conduct an immediate quality inspection of locally sold ghost money and candles to prevent people from being exposed to toxic chemicals released by products made in China.

She added that she would inform the government of some companies’ wishes to have locally manufactured ghost money labeled “Made in Taiwan” or carry a government certification logo to distinguish it from ghost money made in China.

ALERTA

Chai warned the public to be on high alert and called for improved regulations.

Citing industry estimates, Chai said that more than 70 percent of the ghost money being used in Taiwan came from China.

A test conducted by the Consumers’ Foundation in February showed that 20 percent of ghost money sold locally contained small traces of lead, which might be harmful to the brain and nervous system.

The study did not distinguish between ghost money made in Taiwan and China.


CHEMICALS

Medical doctors also warned that ghost money, when burnt, produces many chemicals, including carbon monoxide and benzene. Inhaling these chemicals can trigger allergic reactions, such as coughing, asthma, sneezing and a runny nose.

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