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Beware of Bargain Bling: Carcinogens Detected in Jewelry from Alibaba and Temu

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Carcinogenic substances exceeding Korean safety standards by up to 700 times have been detected in jewelry sold at ultra-low prices on Chinese e-commerce platforms, AliExpress and Temu.

Photo provided by Incheon Main Customs

On the 7th, Incheon Regional Customs announced that upon analyzing the components of 404 pieces of jewelry, such as earrings and rings, sold on AliExpress and Temu, carcinogens such as cadmium and lead, surpassing Korean safety thresholds, in 96 pieces (23.8%).

Among the findings, carcinogens were detected in 47 pieces (36.7%) of earrings, 23 pieces (31.5%) of rings, and 8 pieces (20.0%) of anklets. Additionally, hairpins, necklaces, and bracelets also tested positive for carcinogens.

By platform, 48 pieces (26.7%) from AliExpress and 48 pieces (21.4%) from Temu were identified as carcinogens. The levels of cadmium and lead found in the products exceeded safety standards by 10 to 700 times.

These jewelry items were priced remarkably low, ranging from $0.53 to $3.53 (average $1.77). The proliferation of Chinese overseas direct purchase platforms, known for their competitive prices, threatens consumers’ health.

According to the Designation of Restricted or Prohibited Substances announced by the Korean Ministry of Environment, mixtures containing more than 0.1% cadmium and more than 0.06% lead are prohibited for use in metal jewelry.

Cadmium and lead are “possible human carcinogens” designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). If poisoned, they can cause renal, central nervous, digestive, and reproductive diseases.

In response, Incheon Customs plans to strengthen the customs management and supervision of products in which harmful ingredients have been detected in consultation with related ministries and request the platforms to stop selling such items.

A customs official advised, “Please be extra careful when purchasing ultra-low priced jewelry products from Chinese overseas direct purchase platforms.”

inews24
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