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Top Fashion Brands Fail Quality Test in China


Clothes from leading international fashion brands have been declared substandard in China with some containing large levels of a chemical that can cause respiratory and eye irritations, authorities have said.

Quality control tests were conducted on garments from 40 labels for sale in Shanghai including luxury brands Armani, Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, ST Dupont and MaxMara, China's bureau of commerce and industry said.

Of the 59 garments and shoes tested, 25 were declared substandard with some having high levels of formaldehyde, unacceptable amounts of acid (pH) and poor dyes, the bureau said in a notice on its website on Friday.

All but one of the 25 garments were imported.

Formaldehyde can cause skin rashes, eye irritations, provoke allergies and cause respiratory problems and cancer, in extremely high levels, the notice said. One garment contained twice the amount allowed under regulations, the notice said.

The results will spark concern among retailers and shoppers in China, the world's third-largest consumer of luxury goods after Japan and the United States.

About 250 million Chinese are expected to be able to afford luxury goods by 2010, according to leading French pollster the IPSOS Institute.

Other problems include erroneous labeling, with one garment saying it was 20 percent cashmere but tests discovered it contained just 1.7 per percent.

The bureau said the clothes, which range in price from a few hundred yuan to 40,000 yuan (more than 5,000 US dollars), would be withdrawn and penalties imposed on the manufacturers.

Contributed by AFP