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Tests find pesticides in detergent
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-03 04:00 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Magic Amah removed two of its types of liquid laundry detergent from shelves Tuesday after the Homemakers United Foundation said tests found the pesticide permethrin.

A spokesman for Magic Amah, produced by the Nice Group, initially said there was no law barring the use of the synthetic chemical permethrin, which is widely used as insect repellent. As an environmental hormone, there were fears the chemical could harm the mammal reproductive system. The company also called on the action group to publicize details about its tests to avoid a repeat of the recent Business Weekly magazine accusations of heavy metals in milk.

During the afternoon, Magic Amah announced it had decided to stop selling another type of its detergent as well because permethrin had also been found. The company said it would refund consumers.

A spokesman said the original formula for the products came from Australia. Magic Amah had asked the supplier to provide official certification and details about its products.

The official maximum level for permethrin on fruit and vegetable is 0.05 parts per million, but different lots of the Magic Amah detergent revealed 76.3 ppm, 37.8 ppm and 44.6 ppm, the foundation said. The result emerged during tests of 35 types of detergent on the Taiwan market.

Permethrin is dangerously toxic to cats and fish, but is used in agriculture to protect crops and on humans and clothing to deter parasites and mosquitoes. The United States and British Armed Forces reportedly treat all new uniforms with the chemical as protection against malaria and dengue fever.

The foundation accused detergent manufacturers of vague labeling by using general terms instead of the names of the chemicals. The government had also failed to provide clear rules about the use of permethrin in detergents and on clothing, foundation officials said.

A Magic Amah spokesman initially told reporters that several Taiwanese detergent producers imported their ingredients from the same sources in Australia, which made it difficult to understand why the foundation had singled out the company’s product.

If the government said the chemical posed a threat to health, the company would take the detergent off the shelves and compensate customers, but as long as it was used overseas and unregulated domestically, private organizations which conducted tests should provide detailed reports about the tests, the spokesman said. He emphasized that chemicals in detergents were usually washed away with the water and would not leave any dangerous residues.

The company expressed fears that the new issue would develop the same way as the Business Weekly accusations against four top milk producers. The Chinese-language weekly last month accused the prominent companies holding a 70-percent market share that nine of their brands contained heavy metals.

The government accused the magazine of a lack of clarity, and demanded it file a complete report about the methodology for the tests. The results were later rejected, and the dairy products were pronounced safe to drink as official tests failed to find any heavy metals in the same products.

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