Toxic Togs?

In a reversal of reports regarding the toxicity of Chinese products from toys to toothpaste, which in recent years caused consumer concern but drew protests from the Chinese government, the province of Zhejiang has impounded European-made clothing that reportedly failed quality and safety tests.

Brands ranging from high-end Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Hugo Boss to fast-fashion Zara and H&M are implicated.  Their countries of original include Italy -- staunch protector of its quality-conscious "Made in Italy" label -- France, Romania, and Turkey. 

According to the government organization that impounded the clothing, tests of 85 batches of imported items showed that only 44% met standards.  Among the concerns were the presence of acid or formaldehyde (which can be used among other things to fix dye or make fabrics waterproof), poor color fastness, and fiber content mislabeling.

Serious safety violations, political posturing over minor malfeasance and mistranslation, or perhaps a bit of both?  Hard to tell. 

But one thing's for sure:  The companies and countries of origin involved will be keeping a keen eye on testing of Chinese-made exports.  And for consumers concerned about safety and accurate labeling, as opposed to price, turnabout testing may be fair play.

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