ASOS Recalls Radioactive Leather Peblum Belts

Posted on June 2, 2013

ASOS has recalled black studded belts because they contained radioactive materials. The belts tested positive for radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. The radioactive belts were discovered by U.S. Customs. The Daily Beast reports that U.S. Customs found only low levels of radioactivity and ASOS followed up with a voluntary recall.

Vogue UK reports that an internal report conducted by ASOS found than the leather peplum belt could cause injury if worn for more than 500 hours. Vogue also quotes a portion of the report, dubbed Project Purple Flower, that blames suppliers for accidentally contaminating metals during the refining process. Here is an excerpt:
"Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the Far East are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn [contaminates the process] and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy or in suspension."
The report is disturbing because no one wants to wear radioactive accessories and the report makes it sound like these accidents are not uncommon.

ASOS has also released a statement, "A product supplied to ASOS did not meet UK health and safety standards. ASOS worked with all relevant authorities and undertook a precautionary product recall, in line with our high standards of quality and customer care. No other ASOS product lines are affected. ASOS continues to work with the relevant regulatory authorities and is in dialogue with the supplier and the factory workers involved to ensure a satisfactory outcome."

The Guardian reports that 49 of the belts were sold in 14 countries. The rest of the 600+ belts are being held in a radioactive storage facility.
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