Vietnam finds imported fabric full of carcinogens

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A Ho Chi Minh City laboratory has found excessive amounts of formaldehyde and aromatic amines in six batches of fabric imported from China and other countries last month.

The Quality Assurance and Testing Center 3 (QUATEST 3) has not released the quantity of fabric or the names of the companies that imported it, but it did say that most of the material had been imported from China.

Hoang Lam, the center’s deputy director, said scientists would conduct more tests on the contaminated fabric before it is destroyed or sent back to its exporters.

Under regulations issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that took effect on December 20, 2009, all imported fabric must be tested for harmful chemicals at ports of arrival before being distributed to the market.

Carcinogens like formaldehyde and aromatic amines are often used to prevent mold. Vietnam limits the amount of aromatic amines allowed in fabric to 30 milligrams per kilogram, while formaldehyde cannot exceed the same amount in garments for children under three.

Other limits on formaldehyde include 75 milligrams for garment products that come in contact with human skin, and 300 milligrams for those that do not.

Doctor Tran Van Ky of the Vietnam Food Safety Association said formaldehyde is a very strong carcinogen that could cause blood, skin and lymphoid and respiratory cancers.

Reported by Thanh Nien staff

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