A consumer watchdog in China conducted an investigation recently and found that phone cases from several popular manufacturers contained harmful substances
According to media reports, the Shenzhen Institute of Consumption Quality (SICQ) led by the Shenzhen Consumer Council conducted tests on 30 popular phone cases from 28 different brands using the European safety standards as the benchmark.
The Shenzhen Consumer Council held a press conference last Thursday to reveal the findings of their investigation to the public.
Out of the 30 phone cases that were tested, seven phone covers from five brands – Apple, Xiaomi, Yuening, Tiya, and Q-Guo – failed to meet the safety standards determined by European regulators.
The phone cases were found to contain toxic substances that exceeded the standard limit
CGTN (China Global Television Network) cited an official from the council who revealed that the iPhone case tested contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that is 47 times higher than the normal level permitted.
PAH, a substance that has been linked to skin, lung, bladder, liver, and stomach cancers, is a class of chemicals in which people are usually exposed to when breathing air contaminated with motor vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke.
On the other hand, the Xiaomi case tested contained excessive plasticizers, which could lead to reproductive defects and decreased fertility.
Both the Apple and Xiaomi cases were purchased online from their official websites.
Meanwhile, it was learned the Yuening's phone case contained lead that is 1,550 times greater than the limit.
Following the disclosure of the investigation results, Xiaomi has responded with a statement
In its statement, Xiaomi argued that one of the safety standards used by the Shenzhen Consumer Council in its test was inappropriate because it is a test standard that focuses on children's products.
The Chinese technology giant added that it uses its own specialised standards for its phone cases and they are strictly implemented in production to ensure the quality of its product is not compromised.
"Xiaomi covers are safe to use for consumers," the company said in the statement, as reported by South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Nevertheless, the council has reportedly defended its decision to use the European safety standard as it believes babies would be inclined to bite the covers, therefore a higher standard is demanded.
According to the Shenzhen Consumer Council, about 75% of the 1.42 billion Chinese mobile phone users use cases
It was learned that nearly 70% of mobile phone covers across China are produced in Shenzhen.
The council reportedly said that most consumers choose to buy mobile phone cases online, with nearly 90% of them buying cases that are priced below 50 yuan (about RM31).
Abacus, a unit of SCMP, reported that the iPhone case in question is still being sold in Apple's online stores in Asia.
At the time of writing, Apple has yet to respond to media enquiries sent by SCMP and Abacus.
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