Buying children shoes for Christmas or the New Year might end up exposing them to an excessive amount of plasticizers, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday
The foundation warned parents not to allow children to play with or bite their shoes.
A test conducted jointly by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) and the foundation on 19 random pairs of children’s shoes purchased from shoe stores, mass retailers and on the Internet found that 10 pairs were substandard, foundation chairman Mark Chang (張智剛) said.
Seven failed the quality check, which tests for the content of azo dyes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and plasticizers, and six pairs did not have the required labeling showing the product name, importer’s information, materials and country of manufacture — Chang said.
While none of the samples exceeded the maximum permissible limit of azo dyes, six exceeded the permissible level of plasticizers — found in either the shoe upper, sole or both — and two were over the legal limit for PAHs, which are internationally recognized as carcinogens.
Chang told a press conference yesterday that the soles of one pair contained 461 times the maximum allowable limit for plasticizers, meaning that 46.16 percent of the plastic material was made up of plasticizers.
“The shoe uppers of the same pair exceeded the limit for plasticizers 1.6 times. Five other pairs exceeded the limit between 14.9 and 396 times.”
Phthalate plasticizers, the plasticizers tested for, may cause endocrine (hormone) disruption and may even affect reproduction.
BSMI Deputy Director-General Chuang Su-chin (莊素琴) said the bureau can invoke the Consumer Protection Law (消費者保護法) to compel manufacturers or importers to recall, improve or destroy the products, and can impose fines of between NT$60,000 and NT$1.5 million imposed repeatedly, if necessary.
“Those with improper labeling can also be repeatedly fined, if they fail to improve within the time set, with penalties ranging between NT$20,000 and NT$200,000 in accordance with the Commodity Labeling Act (商品標示法),” Chuang said.
She added that the bureau is considering listing children’s shoes as subject to the Commodity Inspection Act (商品檢驗法), but the process would need to include public hearings and other assessment measures.