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March 21, 2012

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Quality unravels in tested woolens

QUALITY problems were discovered in 20 percent of woolen sweaters tested recently by Shanghai quality watchdogs.

Problems included wool content not matching claims and the presence of harmful chemicals, said the Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.

An H&M woolen sweater and one made by Captaino were found to contain less wool than claimed on their labels.

And inspectors found that a Boni sweater contained excessive levels of formaldehyde, which can cause allergies, respiratory disease and cancer.

Problems were also found with some cashmere sweaters on sale in the city.

Seven brands were found to contain excessive levels of carrene, which can give a sweater an unpleasant smell.

Officials said this came from some softening agents.

All products that failed quality tests have been removed from shelves, said officials.

H&M yesterday admitted that some of its products failed the tests because it was not familiar with China's standards, although the products have passed inspections in Europe.

Since the Swedish retail giant entered the Chinese mainland market in 2007, quality problems have been encountered in several provinces and cities.

"We are now taking advice from quality authorities to ensure our products meet Chinese standards completely," said an official, surnamed Gu, with the H&M Shanghai's quality monitoring department.

Wang Mingyong, an official with the Shanghai Institute of Fiber Inspection, said many consumers wrongly believed that standards used in developed countries and regions are higher than those on the Chinese mainland.

"Quality standards have different characteristics in different countries to meet consumers' needs," he said.

"Thus, products passing European Union tests may still fail Chinese inspections."


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