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March 16, 2011

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Ceramic tiles in radiation alert

CERAMIC tiles for sale in local markets may contain excessive levels of natural radiation, inspection authorities warned yesterday.

Eight batches of imported ceramic tiles and 60 loads of stone, all found to have excessive levels of radiation, have been seized at Shanghai ports by the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

The products, which include marble and granite, have been returned to their countries of origin or destroyed. Most natural stones are a source of radiation.

Officials warned that living in an environment containing materials with excessive radiation over a long period can lead to cancer - particularly leukemia and lung cancer.

Consumers are advised to ask retailers to show a product's radiation test certificate before buying.

"While most consumers are aware that some construction materials can release harmful substances, many don't know about the threat of radiation," said Liu Xiaofang, an official with the bureau. "And some manufacturers, in pursuit of profits, use low-cost stone and ceramics without having radiation levels tested."

Liu said many governmental departments, including import, industrial, transport and commercial authorities, are involved in administering ceramic tile production and sales. With so many parties involved, there was scope for unscrupulous traders to find gaps in the implementation of regulations.

Local authorities, along with the bureau, on Monday tested stone sold at local markets for radiation. The results will be announced soon.


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