State media: China-made children's products unsafe

BEIJING: Nearly half of the clothing and a third of the furniture made for children in China's top manufacturing province is unsafe, with many products containing harmful chemicals, state media said Thursday.

The discovery was made in an official investigation by authorities in the southern province of Guangdong, the centre of China's manufactured export industry, the China Daily reported.

It said just 53.5 percent of garments surveyed met safety standards, with many containing excess amounts of formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause skin or respiratory infections.

As for children's furniture, 67.7 percent of it was deemed safe, with some of the questionable products containing too much formaldehyde or health-endangering heavy metals including lead, cadmium and chromium.

"The main reason for the excessive content of formaldehyde and heavy metals is the use of substandard raw materials and paints," Lin Ruixi, spokesman for the province's product safety administration, was quoted as saying.

The reputation of China's poorly regulated and corruption-plagued manufacturing industry has been deeply tarnished in recent years by safety scandals involving dangerous foods, toys and other products.

The investigation found that 95 percent of the toys made in Guangdong were safe, the report said.

Millions of toys made in China -- the world's largest producer of toys -- have been recalled globally in recent years amid fears they were made with toxic lead paints or had design flaws.