Market managers from across Vietnam are on the hunt for Chinese bras.
They are inspecting bras at retailers across the country after several women complained that a popular type of Chinese-made bra -- the advertising of which claims that special massage technology will enhance breast shape and size -- made them itchy and irritated their skin to the point of rash.
The bras have been found in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and many central region provinces. Most cost between VND55,000-90,000 (US$2.64-4.32) but some in Ho Chi Minh City cost VND500,000.
They contain small plastic bags of an oily solution advertised as silicone, which has plastic balls told to give a massage effect that boost breast size without plastic surgery.
Le Phuoc from Ho Chi Minh City told Tuoi Tre he had checked the solution in the bra he bought for his wife and it felt itchy.
A woman named Phuong from the Mekong Delta's Dong Thap Province said the itchy solution leaked from the bra before she even wore it.
Market managers in the central city of Da Nang have sent samples of the solution found in bras seized in their area to the Quality Assurance and Testing Center in the region.
The bras are branded "Huang Jia Ma Lian" while those sold in Thua Thien-Hue Province are branded "An JiTing."
Similar bras have also found by market managers in Quang Nam and Phu Yen Provinces.
None of them are tagged with Vietnamese tags and labels.
Doctor Nguyen Huy Tho, a plastic surgeon at the Central Military Hospital 108, told Tien Phong that the bra has no breast enhancement properties and can cause allergic reactions on the skin.
Tho said the silicone used in plastic surgery is expensive and bras using real silicone cost between US$1,000 and 1,500.
He said the solution advertised as silicone in Hanoi's cheap bras is different from the quality of silicone used in plastic surgery.
It might be toxic and tests should be conducted to find out, the doctor said.
But he said the solution can leak out of the plastic bags after washing and can irritate skin allergies, and even cause nipple infections in women while breastfeeding.
Tho also said that the plastic balls in the solution would not help women get bigger or different-shaped breasts.
He said effective breast enhancement massage requires a lot more.
A source from a European lingerie brand told Tien Phong anonymously that the balls might only be there to make sure the solution, which is likely to be of bad quality, does not get solid.
The source said the Chinese product has been competing with similar high-end products in Vietnam recently.
Asian women, known to have modest busts, are a huge target for bra makers, especially those that claim to enhance the appearance of the breasts, the brand member said.
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