Several brands of children’s raincoats have been found to contain excessive amounts of plasticizers and lead, the Department of Consumer Protection said yesterday.
“Because many elementary schools require their students to wear raincoats instead of using umbrellas, it is necessary to ensure that the raincoats are not posing a health hazard to children,” department Director-General Liu Ching-fang (劉清芳) said.
Twenty-one samples of different brands taken from various outlets including department stores, wholesalers and retailers were randomly selected for tests, according to the department.
The products, which were all made in China or Vietnam, were inspected to see if they are properly labeled and contain levels of migratable lead and plasticizers above the legally allowed limits for children’s products.
Migratable lead is the amount of lead that a product exudes when it is exposed to a solvent.
Of the 21 raincoats inspected, only three passed all the safety testes, while two others — both imported from Vietnam —failed to pass any of them, Consumer Ombudsman Chang Chia-lin (張嘉麟) said.
“Two of the samples were found to contain an amount of lead in excess of the maximum accepted migration level, which is 90mg per kilogram. As many as 15 of the tested products also contained more plasticizers than national standards permit,” Chang said.
“The raincoat with the highest concentration of plasticizers had 297 times the accepted amount, while nine items had levels at least 200 times above the allowed limit,” Chang said.
“It’s worth noting that both the least and the most expensive samples were substandard in terms of their plasticizers content and labeling,” showing that price is not a good indicator of quality, Senior Consumer Ombudsman Wang Te-ming (王德明) said.
Liu said that the department will ask the Ministry of Economic Affairs to step up efforts to regulate the labeling of children’s raincoats and make such products subject to periodic inspections.
Exposure to excessive amounts of lead can damage children’s mental and physical health, for example by compromising their central nervous or renal systems, said Rao Yu-chen (饒玉珍), an official with the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, adding that prolonged contact with plasticizers could disrupt endocrine functions or lead to cancer.