"Chinese mattresses could be toxic"

20th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2007, THE HAGUE (AP) - A chain of Dutch bed stores said it is recalling more than 1,300 Chinese-made foam mattresses amid fears they were sprayed with toxic insecticide.

20 August 2007

THE HAGUE (AP) - A chain of Dutch bed stores said it is recalling more than 1,300 Chinese-made foam mattresses amid fears they were sprayed with toxic insecticide.

Beter Bed Holding announced the recall after tests on a shipping container holding more than 700 mattresses found they contained poison, possibly as a result of being sprayed to kill insects in wooden packaging.

"Given its contents, the container ... should not have been sprayed," the company said Friday.

It said it was destroying the shipment of 728 mattresses and recalling 1,310 from earlier deliveries, which were sold by its BeddenReus chain. Shoppers were urged to return the items to the stores for a refund.

News of possibly toxic mattresses is another blow to the already tarnished product safety record of Chinese exporters following a string of scandals including tainted dog food and toothpaste and lead paint on toys.

Beijing attempted to repair some of the damage Friday by releasing a policy paper that touted its past food safety record and a current campaign to crack down on poor - and potentially dangerous - food processing practices.

Ironically, the spraying may have been part of a Chinese move to ensure exports were not infected.

"You can do that with solid stuff, but not of course with food, textiles, stuff people sleep on," Beter Bed spokesman Richard Neve said. "If you put a chemical compound on a (foam) sleeping mattress, like a sponge it fills itself up."

The mattresses were found to be tainted when Dutch government inspectors checked the container at Rotterdam port, said Jan-Jaap Eikelboom, a spokesman at the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment.

"The first check showed they were poisonous, exactly what (the poison is) we still have to check," Eikelboom said.

Although the ministry has yet to deliver a verdict on what the toxic material is, Beter Bed said it believed it to be benzene, a carcinogen, and a chemical compound called 1,2-dichloroethane - also known as ethylene dichloride, or EDC.

Eikelboom said he did not know where in China the shipment of mattresses originated.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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