Hot on the heels of our damning report that revealed one third of all Chinese children's products tested for heavy metals at illegal levels or levels of concern, Hong Kong decided to take our heavy metal testing to the streets. Specifically to Mong Kok, one of the biggest shopping districts in one of the world's biggest shopping cities.
Greenpeace campaigners invited pedestrians to test their belongings - many being shoppers who had just done their round of Christmas shopping. Over 30 people offered to have their things tested, mostly leather (fake and genuine) purses, handbags, wallets and sunglasses.
A tourist from New Zealand, Ian, had just purchased two ladies' handbags, both destined for his wife, but after testing discovered unsafe levels of lead. The results surprised him and said he would immediately return the items. Another man, Zhang, had his wife's handbag and wallet tested and afterwards commented, "We spent $1000 on this handbag in a department store, and for it to contain lead exceeding safe levels is really disappointing!"
A recent Greenpeace-IPEN study measured toxic metals in 500 children's products purchased in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Wuhan. The products came from shopping trips to more than 40 retailers including shopping malls, street markets, and chain stores. The results showed that one-third of tested products contained at least one toxic metal at levels of concern. None of the tainted products contained warning labels to inform consumers about their toxic ingredients.
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