Seoul Authorities Report High Levels of Toxic Chemicals in Shein Products

8 days ago
Seoul Authorities Report High Levels of Toxic Chemicals in Shein Products


Shein, headquartered in Singapore, has skyrocketed in popularity around the world in recent years, offering a vast selection of trendy clothes and accessories at stunningly low prices.

One pair of shoes contained 428 times the permitted levels of phthalates – the highest observed so far during the Seoul inspections – and three bags had amounts as high as 153 times the limit, the city government said.

Seoul’s government has announced that products from the popular online retailer Shein, founded in China, were found to have dangerously high levels of toxic substances, far exceeding safety standards.

The rapid expansion of the company has brought about a closer examination of its operations and safety measures, particularly in the European Union and South Korea. Authorities in Seoul have been conducting weekly inspections of products sold on popular platforms like Shein, Temu, and AliExpress to ensure compliance with safety standards.

In their most recent assessment, a selection of eight Shein products was scrutinized, comprising children’s shoes, leather bags, and a belt. The investigation revealed that several of these products contained elevated levels of phthalates, which are chemicals commonly utilized to soften plastics.

Phthalates are widely used to soften plastic and are found in thousands of products including containers, beauty products and toys. However, they have been known for decades to cause hormone disruptions and have been linked to obesity, heart disease, some cancers and fertility problems.

Seoul city official Park Sang-jin told AFP that they have requested a removal of these products from sale, and said that since the city began inspections in April, most platforms have complied with such requests.

AFP has reached out to Shein for comment.

So far, Seoul authorities said they have inspected 93 products and found that almost half of them contained toxic substances. These items include children’s watches and colouring pencils.

Last month, the European Union added Shein to its list of digital firms that are big enough to come under stricter safety rules – including measures to protect customers from unsafe products, especially those that could be harmful to minors.

Shein and Temu have followed Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba in challenging Amazon, especially by making inroads in the US market.