Shein removes pair of children’s shoes from sale after harmful substances found

The Belgian consumer defense association Testachats published this Wednesday the results of an investigation into the toxicity of around ten children’s items purchased on Shein. Products from the Chinese online store contain levels of lead well above European standards.

Nearly one in two articles concerned. In a press release published this Wednesday, the consumer defense association Testachats published the results of its investigation relating to 25 children’s items purchased on the Chinese site Shein to 45 million users per month in Europe. Harmful substances were found in ten of them, from waterproof jackets to t-shirts to swimwear. Worse, shoes are the most affected and contain too much lead according to European legislation.

A sale deemed “irresponsible”

According to Testachats, the study of these clothes made it possible to detect the presence of endocrine disruptors, allergens such as nickel, but also irritants, such as dimethylformamide, quinoline, in addition to nonylphenol ethoxylates.

“The latter are especially harmful to aquatic organisms, but over time, they decompose into another substance, which disrupts the endocrine system,” writes the association in its press release.

In the case of shoes, the most problematic and harmful product in this test, it is the presence of lead but also phthalates (a substance added to PVC in the manufacturing process), which is highlighted.

Lead is present five times three compared to European standards, while phthalates are present one hundred times too much. “It is completely irresponsible to offer such an item on the European market,” denounced Julie Frère, spokesperson for Testachats.

Following Testachats’ announcements, Shein announced that it took the conclusions “very seriously” and confirmed that 25 products tested did not meet legal requirements, as noted by RTBF.

“In accordance with our safety protocols, as a precautionary measure, we immediately withdrew the said product from sale while we conduct an internal investigation,” underlines Shein, quoted by our Belgian colleagues.

European legislation still little respected

For Testachats, these problematic results are the result of existing European legislation but not yet sufficiently controlled. “Our authorities must carry out more controls and we also ask platforms to take their obligations seriously. The safety of consumers is at stake,” concludes Julie Frère.

At the end of April, the European Commission designated Shein as a very large online platform, under the Digital Services Regulation. With this notice, Shein is now forced to implement mitigation measures to address “risks such as the mention of counterfeit products, unsafe products, as well as products that infringe intellectual property rights, and the sale of these products.

Testachats is not its first attempt at foreign sites that export their sales to Europe. In a previous test, AliExpress, Wish and Amazon were implicated in a test in which two out of three products presented security problems.

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