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More schools bought 'toxic-dye' uniforms

2013-02-19 12:59 Shanghai Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

Twenty-one schools found to have purchased uniforms with cancer-causing dyes have asked students not to wear the uniforms in the new semester that starts today.

Those students will be able to attend school in regular clothes, officials said.

A total of 26,444 uniforms collected from the 21 schools in the Pudong New Area are being tested and the results will be issued soon, the city government said yesterday.

However, other schools not listed as purchasers surfaced after some parents reported that their children's uniforms were also branded as "Ouxia," the supplier found to have used banned aromatic amine dyes, which could lead to cancer.

Some of those schools also are telling students they don't have to wear uniforms today.

School officials admitted that they never check suppliers' product quality test reports, a step that is not mandatory in procurement. It was not until recent quality tests by Shanghai quality authorities found the dye that they knew the products were problematic.

"Investigation into the Ouxia problem reveals loopholes in supervision and a lack of clear job responsibilities and coordination between different government departments," the city government said in an announcement yesterday.

After the quality authorities published the test results, the Pudong New Area Education Bureau published the list of the 21 schools which purchased uniforms from the Shanghai Ouxia Clothing Co Ltd on its microblog early yesterday morning.

Education authorities ordered schools to alert parents via different channels including text messages and the Internet. The authorities will send the clothes in question for further checks to decide what to do next.

Many didn't get message

But many children were still wearing school uniforms to school yesterday to fetch textbooks since they had not gotten the alert in time.

Moreover, many parents uploaded pictures of their children's uniforms with the Ouxia brand even though their schools weren't on the list. Schools which purchased the clothes but have not been listed include the Yangyuan Central and Gaoqiao Tonggang primary schools, according to parents.

"The winter uniform costs hundreds of yuan," said Gong Huiping, whose son is in the Donghui Vocational High School. "But the quality is so poor," she said. "It seems to be made of nylon. It can hardly keep students warm."

She complained about the low quality. But it never occurred to her that the safety of the school uniform was not guaranteed.

Many officials also assumed the uniforms were safe.

"Many nearby schools also purchased uniforms from Ouxia," Gaohang Middle School's vice principal, surnamed Qu, told

"I assumed the brand quality is recognized by the education authorities," he said.

Though Ouxia has failed quality tests in the past three years, most schools didn't stop doing business with them.

Song Yi, an official with the Shanghai Wusan Middle School, said they have never learned about the quality problem. The cancer-causing material was found in the 50 sets of clothing obtained by the school from Ouxia.

The city government vowed to punish officials and teachers who violated regulations. It urged quality authorities to issue local standards for school uniforms and enhance the frequency of tests on uniforms. It will blacklist factories that produce unqualified uniforms and ban them from supplying clothes to schools. The city also plans to study new school uniform purchasing plans, which will make districts and a group of schools buy clothes jointly.

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