| What to do Responses Other reports Reports from China Gallery Not only plastic Not only China|
No, you're not crazy or overly sensitive — there really is a horrible smelling chemical coming from that item you recently bought that was made in China. New chemicals appear to have entered the Chinese manufacturing stream since around 2005 or so that are now flooding into US (and now global) markets in a variety of products. Try Google on ["made in China smell"]. Something in the nature of the problem has prevented a widespread response — US toxics laws are inadequate, most people are either oblivious to odor, are too busy, stoic, in denial, passive, or resigned, to do anything, or believe that the chemicals will “air out”, or don't realize this is a new problem, or — most dangerously — think it is “normal”. This Web site is created in the hope of changing that. Below is a description of how I came upon this issue, followed by responses to this web page, and other reports from the web on the problem.
|July 24, 2012, 2:23 p.m. EDT: Health Care Announces Support for Safe Chemicals Act on Eve of Committee Vote|
2012-6-19: Samsonite Pulls Luggage Amid Cancer Claims. It appears that the plastic chemical issue is starting to get business-media attention (although the story does not address where the luggage was manufactured).
“Samsonite sent random samples of the products to laboratories in Germany and Hong Kong to assess the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the handles...”
2011-9-6: A preliminary study of a sample of rubber on a violin case from China smelling of “Chemical A” shows that it is outgassing large quantities of tetrachloroethylene (also called perchloroethylene, tetrachloroethene, PERC, PCE). PERC is now identified as toxic to brain development:
“PERC is not only a central nervous system toxin, but also is suspected of affecting the liver, kidneys, immune system and reproductive organs.”Here is an excerpt about tetrachloroethylene from the Toxic Substances Portal at the Center for Disease Control:
“Tetrachloroethylene is a manufactured chemical used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing. Exposure to very high concentrations of tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death. Tetrachloroethylene has been found in at least 771 of the 1,430 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ... The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that tetrachloroethylene be handled as a potential carcinogen and recommends that levels in workplace air should be as low as possible.
Lab analysis shows Christmas ornaments from China emitting high levels of 1,2-dichlorethane (DCA):
[Story 1] [Story 2]:
“... all the ornaments combined were emitting levels in the range the EPA predicts could cause cancer, between 0.094 and 9.4 micrograms per cubic meter. His tests also revealed that an ornament could theoretically emit the toxic chemical for up to 345 days. Because all the ornaments seemed to come from one factory in China, he said, he's not sure how widespread the problem is. Regardless, he notes that the chemical is banned from use by U.S. manufacturers.”
In the summer of 2007, on my last day in Beijing after teaching at a science summer school, I took a stroll and came across a music store. I ended up buying a low priced violin and traditional Chinese hulusi. The hulusi case, pictured here, put out an odor I had never smelled before. It reminded me of something though... and that was the sheep dip I had used raising sheep in 4-H as a child in California. I had no idea as a kid what sheep dip was — it was just something you used to keep your sheep clean. I later looked it up and it was some kind of organophosphate pesticide solution.
On the flight home, I tossed the hulusi case in my day pack, and carried it and the violin on the plane, putting the violin in the overhead compartment. As the long flight wore on, I started noticing that an odor similar to the hulusi case was coming from the violin case.
When I arrived home, the smell of the hulusi case had permeated my day pack, and months after retained the chemical odor. The violin case kept outgassing this smell as well, and would smell up a whole car or bedroom that it was in.
The next year when I was back in Beijing, I bought another, better violin, and its case had the same odor, with the greatest intensity coming from the black rubber-like feet on the case. I removed them, and put them in a plastic Ziploc bag. The smell passed right through the wall of the bag. I put a second bag around the first, and the smell passed right through the second wall. This was a really creepy chemical.
I searched online for any other reports of smelly plastic from China. In 2008, I found very few. But by late 2010, there are very many reports. The production of this smelly Chinese plastic therefore appears to be fairly recent. My own experience is that I had never encountered this odor before 2007. The earliest reports I find among product reviews is 2007. It seems to be present in synthetic rubbers and coated nylon fabrics. Some respondents to this Web site report problems going back longer.
|Photograph: HAP/Quirky China News / Rex Feat|
In the past three years, smelly plastic from the People's Republic of China is now infiltrating markets all over the United States for a wide variety of products. See my list of some items, below.
I recently went shopping for a suitcase, and had to search very hard before I could find models that did not have this chemical smell.
I am a longtime owner of TravelPro suitcases — first, a RollAboard model from 1994, then Walkabout models from 2002 and 2003. None of these put out any kind of odor. Today, almost all brands of luggage (even Swiss Victorinox) are now made in China. The Delsey Helium Fusion I bought seemed o.k. in the store, but in my car, the chemical odor filled the vehicle. I returned it. Walking toward the Sears luggage department, from twenty feet away I could smell the chemicals outgassing from the collection of suitcases. The only model I found without a chemical odor was the TravelPro Crew 7. And indeed, the Crew 7 line is not made in China, but in Thailand. The Walkabout Lite 3 model by TravelPro is made in China, and has a strong chemical odor. However, it is a different odor from that of the violin case and Delsey bag. So, I am referring to the original odor as "Chemical A", and the TravelPro Walkabout 3 Lite odor as "Chemical B". I have encountered Chemical B coming from the foam pads on the bottom of desk lamps made in China, and from an office chair. See below.
Recently, I have tried to find a ukulele gig bag, and all of them are made in China and all of them exude "Chemical A". Rooms in several music shops I've visited where the bags and cases are stored all reek of "Chemical A" or "Chemical B".
Now, it's long known that some plastics outgas smelly chemicals. New vinyl outgasses toxic vinyl chloride and other chemicals, which may be injurious [PDF]. Old waterproofed nylon raingear and tents can smell awful (like vomit). Polyurethane foam in mattresses outgasses chemicals that many people are complaining about. I learned from one forum that cellulose acetate butyrate handles on old tools can put out malodorous butyric acid.
But this wave of synthetic material now inundating the United States, and presumably the world, from the People's Republic of China appears to have new chemicals we have not encountered before. Who knows whether they are safe? They smell terrible, they ruin the scent environment wherever they are brought. I do not want to have this smell in my life. But I am running into more and more products where all the models I can find have this chemical.
I have written to product manufacturers and some government agencies to bring attention to this issue, but have not seen any action taken. So I want to help network other concerned citizens and get some action taken.
Forward the link to this page, http://dynamics.org/CHINA_PLASTIC/ , to any chemist, chemistry student, chemistry professor, environmental or consumer activist, or other person you know who could facilitate getting these materials analyzed. It would make a great and potentially publishable project for a chemistry student.
Recent recalls of thousands of bottles of drugs due to smelly contaminant tribromoanisole (    ) show the huge disparity in regulation, and in consumer vigilance, between what we put in our mouths and what we put on our skin or breath through our nose.
You can write to Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 at this web site.
Hi- thanks for your "smelly plastics" article. We rent a lively furnished flat here in Luxembourg .. We needed it furnished, and the owners did it in fake leather. Looks great but I've had serious issues. I actually collapsed in the guest room by the fake leather guest sofa bed - could hardly get up or walk. I have SERIOUS hip stiffness issues, inflamed sciatic nerve, groin pain, and sore throat . Moved that sofa on to the balcony. This was made in China - didn't see a label on the dining chairs and living room sofa set but they probably are too. Have you heard of these kind of symptoms? My husband thinks I'm nuts. Interestingly he has developed bronchitis since we moved here 2 yrs ago...
I've noticed the smell from Chinese rubber products for several years now. We call the "Harbor Freight" smell but of course it applies to many retailers and products. My latest experience was the purchasing of some Keen H2 Newport Women's sandals for my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago. The rubber on these sandals reeked. Now we're not talking about cheapie sandals from some discount sporting goods store. These were Keen sandals retailing at or about $100.00 a pair. We took them back to REI and they too noticed the overwhelming odor. I called Keen and they told me that their company was "transparent" and that they closely monitor all the factories in China where their sandals are made. The young lady from their customer service department also told me that the substance was "non-toxic" and that she would send via email all kinds of information documenting this. I'm still waiting and I just emailed them to remind them about this pledge to provide the information. We'll see.
I got a new laptop yesterday which reallys smells and is giving me a chronic frontal headache. The company I bought it from, E-Buyer have told me to go with it for a few days and contact them back. I got the feeing they thought I was weird. I guess this is very unusual. Its so depressing. It happens to me with other items also sometimes. Asus is a Chinese make so this seems plausible. I wish there was more awareness about these things. I would like to help in any way I can. I have found quite a few links to people who have had similar problems:
- - computer smell with headaches
- - Apple Mac Products and Smell/Headaches
- - Asus MB giving off smells/Headaches/Sick reactions
- - computer emitting smells.
- - Compute emitting smells
As I mentioned the Comapny would like me to test for a day or so. I still have a slight headache now (12.40pm) and i stopped using it last around 10.30pm last night!
Just found your page when googling "how to get rid of toxic plastic odor." Wow, I just ordered 2 wallets online, both of which came from China. I can't dream of putting them in my purse! They are stinking up my house; what would they do to a closed purse??!! Any suggestions?
Folding shopping carts. It used to be you could buy one for under $10; it worked for decades, and wasn't a health risk. Recently I needed one so I would not have to lug heavy bags of groceries from the supermarket, because I think that was one of the things that was hurting my hip. So a couple weeks ago I bought one at a local store. I didn't notice until I got it home that it emitted extremely powerful noxious fumes that made my eyes water, my throat sore, and my head ache (and buzz). And that was when I had it inside a closed closet! A week later, it was even worse. I put it in the shower for an hour, and that only made it angrier. Today I put it out on the fire escape and closed the window, but I'm not optimistic that it will ever air out. Meanwhile the closet where I was keeping it is like a gas chamber, and I can't find a single shopping cart online where reviewers don't have the same complaint, not to mention other complaints, like every single shopping cart that Amazon sells falls apart, breaks, doesn't work, or can't even be assembled. I looked in Google and found your site. I'm with you in believing our government, that is supposed to protect us, should be screening these imports for toxic substances. Clearly the "magic of the market" no longer works, if it ever did. There is no competition because everything comes from the same factories in China, where they have slave labor and no safety or health standards, and for all I know the workers are dropping dead like flies from the toxins. The operative law is no longer supply and demand, but "the bad drives out the good". It is what we have been seeing ever since 1980, when the government decided to let business be just as bad as it wanted to be, with no consequences or penalties. When there are no rules, the bad does indeed drive out the good. And the list of products that simply can no longer be had in safe reliable versions at any price, only continues to grow.
I have bought and immediately returned quite a lot of items containing stinky plastic originating from China recently. A battery charger from Home Depot. Two different vacuum cleaners from Best Buy, each of which filled my apartment with a PVC smell. A portable heater from Lowes. A $300 coffee roaster. A clamp lamp that smoldered with a 60 watt bulb in it but was rated as accepting up to 250 W. A loaf of bread from Trader Joes in a plastic bag that stank. A box of corn flakes whose inner bag was stinky. I poured the cereal into a bowl and noticed the smell in the first spoonful. And much more. I recently bought a new Macbook Pro for quite a lot of money. It’s supposed to be a 4 year investment but I can’t stand the stench after 4 days! I am seriously thinking about giving up on Macs if this is a stink I’ll have to live with. The smell is partly “new computer smell” which is not horrible and which I know goes away, plus there is also a serious “server room smell” that is awful. I have no idea what is the active or dominant compound in either scent. I expect neither Apple nor the Chinese want me to know. It is no wonder to me any more why it is that new iMacs, iPhones and iPads are being made to be glued shut. It’s because if they weren’t, the terrible smell inside would escape. It used to be that only plastics at the $1 store stank. Starting a couple years ago it seems all plastic from China stinks. Thanks for your efforts.
Read your notes about toxic fumes from chinese plastics/rubber My company just bought a new Hyundai Accent car and the standard factory mats were an extra add on price, which we didn't know and we didn't order any floor mats. The mats in the car were some cheap ones the dealer said were supplied to protect the floor - not sure where they came from. The car went to a place that painted a logo on the doors. When we went to pick it up it smelled so bad we could not drive it and it gave us headaches and made me cough ( I have reactive airway disease, get brochospasm with some smells). We went back to the dealer and complained, he acted like nothing was wrong. I took out the mats and now a month later still cannot drive the car with the windows up, and barely tolerable with the windows down. Any suggestions?
I reported to you back in April 2012 about some mouse pads from Amazon that contain this poison. Since then it's becoming more and more prevalent in products everywhere, and in more and more stores. It's getting to the point that it is difficult to avoid. There are certain products (like steering-wheel covers in all my local auto-parts stores) that I just have to forgo, because you simply can't get them without this poison in it anymore. And worse than all this, lately it's been showing up in FOOD products, ostensibly manufactured in the USA. I found a very similar (horrible) odor in a batch of Orowheat bread from Costco, and in Equate antacids from Walmart. All I can think is that they must be using some kind of chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent to clean their food processing equipment, and then the batches that are processed immediately after this are getting contaminated. ... I've only encountered it once in the bread. I threw the 2 loaves away immediately. My wife continues to buy it at Costco, and it hasn't happened again. Perhaps it was some cross-contamination with some other produce stored in the same warehouse or something. Thanks again for keeping this site up.
I am happy that you started action against poisoning of America by Chinese products. I was thinking about doing the same thing after purchasing numerous odor-generating heaters made in China. My latest experience is with Lasko heater 5307 I purchased at Walmart. I had it on for a few mintues and took me hours to ventilate my house. This heater eminates very offensive chemical smell. I returned the heater next day. Next product is Intertek heater model HPG15B-M purchased in Lowe's. This small heater is very smelly. Again the same awful chemical smell. I had it run outdoors for 1 hour on maximum setting and it is still smelly. I suspect all heater made in China emit toxic gases. It is amazing how many people do not pay attention to having toxic gases introduced to their homes by China-made product. I will contact my Congressman about this issue. I will let you know of any other products.
We just brought a poker table and it was shipped from Hong Kong and it has a toxic terrible smell. Is this dangerous and should we keep the poker table? Thank you for your advice.
FYI: 6 months ago I purchased a Fingal model office chair from IKEA. The chair was manufactured in China. Approximately 1 or 2 weeks after assembly, I noticed a chemical odor exuding from the padding. The odor was so noxious that I had to remove the chair from my office. I placed the chair outside and in my garage for several days at a time with no effect. I disassembled the chair and removed the padding from the chair frame and literally hosed it down with water and detergent. Still no change in the odor and the odor even appeared to be stronger. The IKEA store representative would not allow me to return the chair because I had destroyed the receipt so it went out on the dump. I recently purchased an office chair from Staples. The chair is a Staples Cermeno leather manager's chair. After two days of use, I noticed a slight odor, identical to the odor of the above Fingal chair, emanating from the chair. The odor is not as strong as the Fingal chair but it is strong enough to make my eyes water and cause a sore throat and stuffy nose. The chair is made in China. I am going to give the chair a week of use to see if the outgassing diminishes somewhat. If not, then it goes back to Staples.
I recently bought a cheap set of plastic car mats at a discount store. I only intended to use the driver's side mat, and because I was moving I ended up putting the other 3 mats in a box to decide what to do with later. When I moved into my new house, I periodically took boxes into the house from the garage to unpack. After a few weeks I started noticing a very bad, fetid odor coming from just under the window in my bedroom. I never suspected that the smell was coming from a small box sitting under that window with the lid open, which contained the car mats. After three weeks with no relief I became very upset about the smell. At times the smell was very strong and at others nonexistent. It was so bad I thought that perhaps a small animal like a field mouse had crawled into my baseboard heater near that spot and died. My husband didn't notice the odor at all but he has a bad sense of smell, so I had no support from him about it. I tried cleaning everything with bleach, deodorizing the carpets, buying air purifiers, you name it. One day I couldn't take it anymore so I opened up the baseboard heater and sniffed it. It stank of that horrible odor. So did the small fan that was sitting on the floor next to the box. I took the fan apart and cleaned every part. I had become so upset about this that I began waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares that there were decomposing animals in my walls. I could not identify it as a synthetic or chemical smell. I have had slightly smelly rubber and plastic before, but this smell was different, and I had never smelled anything quite like it. I did several internet searches on the possible sources of foul odors in a home, and at one point even thought that perhaps the builder had used Chinese drywall in the bedroom. Of course, the box was still sitting under the window all this time undisturbed. At the end of my rope and determined to find the source of the odor, one day I started going through the box and found the stinky mats. I could not believe that three little plastic car mats that weren't even that big or thick could create a foul odor disturbing enough to consume my life for about 3 weeks. I immediately brought them to my husband and put them under his nose. He could definitely smell them then!Ê After disposing of them, I did an internet search for "foul smelling plastic" and found this website. Thanks for anything you can do to put a stop to this stuff. If it smells that bad imagine how unhealthy it is to breathe in the smell!
I bought cotton mary janes on ebay from New Century Business LLC, www.chinadirectstore.com and noticed the smell immedeately.
Hi: I recently bought 10 pairs of summer Sandals on line from China, and I can't stand the chemical smell. I thought it was just me being sensitive, but I have to keep them outside as I don't want the smell in the house. After reading your website I am now very concerned, but don't like to throw them totally out at over $100 worth of goods. Any advice would be helpful as to diminishing the smell. I live in Canada. And as I type I have a keyboard from Microsoft which I was given and has a very strong chemical smell too, so I know why it was given to me and I am going to remove it as I do not want to be inhaling it all the time.
For a number of years, I have become increasingly conscious of the fact that all the goods I purchase that are made in China have a smell associated with them. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to find any goods that are NOT made in China. I would be willing to pay a premium, but the goods themselves do not exist, other than made in China.
- The first time was when I purchased a Yoga mat and as part of the exercises, I had to press my nose against the mat. For the next couple of days, I had the sensation that I was coming down with a cold, tickling in my nose and harsh feeling in my throat. Then the feeling disappeared. The next week, when I went to Yoga classes again, I experienced exactly the same thing, which was when I realized it was the smell emanating from the yoga mat. I checked to see the labelling and it was made in China. I threw the mat out.
- A few years ago, my husband and I visited Las Vegas and we had some excess personal goods, so we purchased a carry-all. I didn't notice the smell until we had the carry-all in a closet at home and then realized that the smell was identical to the one from the mat. I put it in plastic and threw the bag away.
- I purchased an under padding for a carpet from Home Depot — when I got home I had the same smell — made in China. This time, I returned it to Home Depot and made a little fuss about the fact that it smelled and that it was made in China. I don't think anything came of it, but I felt better about voicing my opinion.
- I purchased a little fabric chair which converts to a single bed a few years ago, but have never needed to use it for guests. A couple of months ago, I gave it to my brother so that he could use it for possible guests. He experienced the same feeling of stuffy nose and burning throat and after we discussed it, we realized that it was coming from the chair — made in China. He threw the chair/bed out.
- A few years ago, I purchased an artificial Christmas tree for the office (made in China — as you cannot find one that is not!) and as I was putting ornaments (also made in China), one of the spines of the tree poked and broke the skin on the back of my hand. It bled a little, but not sufficiently to warrant a visit to a doctor! After a few days, I noticed the area around the wound was very itchy and it started getting little white bumps. Soon, an area about 1.5" wide was infected — at which time I went to the doctor, who said it was little like "Psoriasis", but prescribed a treatment of Fusidic Acid, which worked after three days. Ever since that, I have noticed that I have to be very careful around the least little cut, as it can quickly get infected. It's only recently that I made the association (or perhaps the leap) between these two things — and I will be checking this out with my doctor shortly to see whether there is any correlation between the two.
- I purchased a duvet from Beddington's just a couple of weeks ago. It was made in China, so I did sniff it when I purchased it, and determined there was no familiar "Chinese" smell. However, when I opened up the package, that distinctive odor was there, so we aired out the duvet, even air dried it in the dryer and then placed it on the bed. My husband suffered no ill effects, however, I experienced the same stuffy nose mentioned in point #1, with a slightly burning in the throat. After two days, I re-packed the duvet and am planning on taking it back to Beddington's for a refund — even though the bill clearly says "No Returns".
About two years ago I purchased a handbag and a pair of flipflops from an animal rights site. Made in China, they both stank like old rubber tires, and I left them in my garage for over a year until the smell dissipated and they are now usable. I recently bought a rug protector (made in China) for my home office that protects the carpet from wear and tear of the rolling office chair. It smelled so bad from plastic chemicals when it arrived that I left it outside for nearly 4 weeks. I finally had to install it this week because of my office needs, but now it is still outgassing and giving me headaches and actually my lungs kind of hurt from breathing this all day, even with all the windows open and the ceiling fan on. It is very heavy (I am not young) and cannot be folded so I am not sure how to return this to Costco but it is a disaster.
Thank you so much for your work. Most of us don't have a clue how to stop this invasion. I have a chemical sensitivity as it is. With all these new products invading my nasal passage, I am sick as much as I am well these days. I just bought a plastic dump cart from Lowes this past week. My wife and I were sick from the odor by the time we got home. I put the box in the garage. The next day, I went out to put it together. By the time I was finished, I had a bad headache, and was lightheaded. I had the doors open for air. I had to throw the box outside, it stunk so bad. Today I went back into the garage to use the cart. The odor just about knocked me down. I figured that it was a cheap oil that was used on the metal parts, to keep them from rusting during shipping. I washed the cart with dishwashing soap, and left it outside to dry. An hour later I checked on it, and it still stunk bad. I went inside and goggled "Smelly Plastic from China" and found this site. I strapped the cart to the roof of the car, took it back to Lowes, and told them that I was returning it, because it stunk up my house.
I just came across your webpage and would love to get something tested. I bought wheels for a small Honda generator like the ones pictured here. I bought these two years ago and I still can't believe the fumes coming off these things. I first noticed it when I bought them and thought it was bad just because they were new. Since it is a gas genny, I usually store it outside in my garage, which has plenty of ventilation, and it is used outside. But yesterday I had to transport one to a job site in my Ford Bronco. Since it was very hot in NY yesterday, I had the windows on the Bronco up and the AC blasting. But in a very short time the fumes coming off the tires were choking me and burning my eyes, nose and throat. I have no idea what I was breathing but it cannot be healthy if it causes pain! To be clear I am not talking about gasoline fumes. The odor is coming off the rubber tires. I drove the remainder of my trip which was almost two hours with the windows down and I could still smell it. I will be throwing these wheels out today, but I may keep one for testing. I will be wary of buying anything from China in the future. Thank you for your website.
I too have encountered and noticed this smelly chemical. I bought a pair of jelly sandals from a store in Manchester, NH called Five Below. They were made in China. They were making my feet numb when I wore them. I had to stop wearing them. You can smell it when you walk into the store — it permeates the store. Also I bought from the same store a toy orange plastic traffic cone that says Work Zone to put on my desk at work and had to remove it because it was also making me numb. I noticed also that the new copier/printer that we are using in the office gives off that same smell and bothers me. I try not to use it too much. Some people must notice it but think that it has been approved so it must be okay. Maybe parents kids are getting sick and they don't even know why.
That's true, more and more plastics outgasses scents that last as long as the duration of the product! Ironically it applies even to products that process air like ventilators, air purifier, vacuum cleaner. I live in MontrŽal, Canada, and I already returned to Costco 2 products. An Oreck air purifier, and a tower shape ventilator. When running these were filling air of desagreable plastic odor. I did'nt return the Shopvac vacuum cleanear, and I regret it. Each time I use it it it fills air of a kerosene like odor. People must return these products and let them know why, to business who makes them. So they are going to put conditions about plastic odors in their finished products.
We live in Manchester UK - have for a few years now struggling to get products that do not contain plastics emitting these terrible smells. I'm sure when I was at school, part of the definition of plastic was that it was odourless!. This problem seems to have spread to almost every product we buy, TVs, vacumn cleaners, torches, radios, dish washers, fridges, etc etc. We have had many discussions with retailers who tell us the smell is just 'newness' and will go away (which it often doesn't.) Great to come across your web campaign - we now know we are not alone!
I came across your page today after having bought some clear vinyl-like sink mats that stank to high heaven of something noxious when I got them out of the package. I set them outside overnight to air out and they still smell as bad, so unfortunately they will need to be returned to Target. I'm concerned that even if the smell abates, I would still be washing my dishes in hot water with these mats in the water, and getting chemicals on my dishes and in my food. They are made in China. Does anyone have an idea of which chemicals and how toxic they are?
I came across your web-site investigating chemicals smells coming from products made in China. I recently purchased panel drapes from Lowes in Weymouth, Massachusetts - hung them in my living room ... after about two hours with the sun shining through, the whole apartment started to smell awful ... curtains were an Allen+ Roth brand, made in China.
Can you please tell me what kind of solvent it is? I just opened some mouse pads for my kids that has thee same acrid solvent smell as those tires you get for a moving dolly and all those other "Harbor Freight" smells you're familiar with . I'm ****ing sick of it! Can we get the EPA or OSHA to measure the indoor air quality of stores like Harbor Freight? It would be helpful if you knew that kind of volitiles are in these solvents. It seems to be the same chemical smell no matter what product you get. What is it?
Well, I am glad you have the webpage up. The smell and the plastic are everywhere. The smell is nauseating. Almost everything that could be manufactured out of vynil is now being made of that toxic plastic. And it rubs off: after you touch it, your hand will smell for a while. It doesn't happen with vynil, even though it, too, is harmful. It's showing up in sandals, garden hoses, coverings for bicycle reflector (the soft adhesive ones). It's such a versatile plastic that they can make it to be any color they want, or without color. What's worst, it's also used in all "rubber" toys, wheels, casters, etc. I think what is needed is a TV expose', like 60 Minutes, or the like. Once they get a hold of it, people start noticing and mothers will rise up. Another way to get heard is to write a book, and make the radio / TV circuit. I am surprised that no chemical analysis has been made so far. Perhaps the chemistry department in your university could lend a hand. Alas. The latest use of that plastic was in eyeglasses nose pads. Yucks! I had to switch to the nosepads from an old pair (and then I got galvanic reaction from the disparate materials, and a dark greenish goo built up where the screws go in). Please keep up your good work. Maybe a local TV station will pay attention if you send them a link to your page.
I recently ordered what I thought were original "Beats" by Dr. Dre for my son for Christmas, ends up it was a scam. I should have known since the price was so good. The headphones arrived and SMELLED to HIGH Heaven!!! They were awful! They came from China and the return process was basically null and void. My daughter wanted to use them since her brother now had the real deal pair. I forbid her from doing so because the smell seemed so toxic. I also purchased 2 Chi brushes we have had before. This time, the brushes have that same Horrible horrible smell! I again banned the kids from using them. I did brush my hair once with one of them and low and behold my hair smelled all day of the brush. Obviously, I am returning those, I purchased them at Ulta. Once again, I so appreciate you posting all of this information. Hopefully, we can all have an impact on having these products banned or rather the chemicals banned from our wonderful country and its citizens.
I recently purchased 2 pair of sandals from aerosole. The soles smelled so bad of chemical,it got right in to my throat as I drove to work. All day i suffered with this horrible chemical order. This can not to good for you. I had seen where other consumers complained about the smell. They are made in China. Taking them back immediately.
Just a thought for your effort to figure this stuff out. There are plastics that are injected into a low pressure mold as a liquid, and polymerize in the mold itself. Great cost savings over injection molding - no high pressure extruders or molds which can cost fortunes. Faster changes can be made for much less money. Sorry polymers, sorry procedure, wrong temperatures, old catalyst, etc create polymerizations that are merely 99% efficient. That leaves 1% as a liquid encased in the plastic. Smell like diesel fuel - most of these products start with longer chain but still liquid ingredients. sorta like components found in diesel, gas, etc. I think dicyclopentadiene is one...smell like hell, low order threshold and requires something like 99.995% reaction completion to have no excess odor
Hi , I live in New Zealand and wanted to share this story...which is evolving as I write..my daughter had a new kitchen installed in her house about 4 years ago and ever since my strong sense of smell has detected a curious toxic smell that encapsulates the kitchen whenever the cupboards beneath the sink, which house compost bucket and recycle bins, are opened. After watching other people wrinkle their noses and say nothing whenever they opened and shut the cupboards and after I had secretly poured vanilla essence and odour cleaner under the sink...I told my daughter about this smell..she could not smell it ..so I offered to investigate when she went overseas and I looked after her 6 and 8 year old. I asked her in the meantime to remove the compost bin as we suspected that the plastic component of the bin was the cause...but no - after removing everything under the sink for 48 hours and cleaning every nook and cranny as well as becoming a plumbing expert and removing cleaning all pipes that came from sink and dishwasher ( where - by the way no odour was found )- the smell was still there. It was not coming up through the drainage holes..so had to be underneath...finally my nose found the offending plastic...I googled.. stinky plastic... and hello there is the product and from China... see attached photos. That the smell is still there after all those years is amazing..of course as pipe is heated from warm draining water the smell is even more offensive to my nose. Where we go from here will be up to our daughter hen she and her husband return from their trip.
I found your website by searching Google for "how to remove petroleum odor from plastic beads". Frankly, I am both appalled and shocked at what you have posted online. Where in the name of everything good and holy are the watchdogs of our citizens, the EPA? ... Yes, my beads come mainly from eBay and mostly from China. Like many others, I had NO IDEA that anything with noxious fumes like this would be easily allowed into the US of A. ... The beads in one box -- are the plastic/acryllic/resin ones. And they stink. Hoo boy -- my neighbor asked me if I was washing and using BLEACH -- it was so strong he stood across the room and smelled them. Now I'm going to have to go BACK to my purchases online and find out which vendors these came from -- and contact them and them contact eBay. Selling hazardous materials is flat out dead wrong. I deal with several medical issues on a dialy basis and cannot afford to take chances with my health. And no way can I sell these for children -- not knowing that they have the potential to be so toxic. Yes, please tell me what to do and how to do it. I'm ready to step up with you in this battle. ...
Googling "smelly plastic", I found your website. I bought some colored bouncy balls made for children at Party City. They smell like diesel fuel. I tried soaking them in vinegar, baking soda, leaving them outside, but they still smell horrible. I cannot believe these balls are being sold in the USA for children to use.
I recently bought a work light at Home Depot, the brand "Husky Tools", and its rubber / plastic components reek of that chemical petrolium smell so much that I took it back to home depot. I also recently bought floor mats for my car from O'Reily autopart stors, the brand of the floor mat was Kraco and the smelled so bad that I actually just threw them away! I can email you photos of the items if you like. From now on when I buy a product that has any rubber or plastic, I have to do a "smell" test. These products should be banned. I went to China on a business trip in 2004 and that smell was everywhere I went. It's like the whole country has products made with it. Any kind of rubber or plastic on things like fake shoes etc.. had it!
Bought this screwdriver set (Finetool Productions 18 piece Screwdriver Set) from FineLife made in China at Hasting and after opening found this very strong chemical smell. Returned back the same day.
i have a large stuffed dragon in my sons room. suddenly as im reading to him i realize that this dragon (which was sitting beside me) was the source of a strange mildewy smell that I had been trying to identify for a while. I even cleaned my sons whole room looking for it and got very convinced that my roof must have been leaking into the walls or something in order to create the smell. well luckily i didnt go replacing myrroof yet or go wall tearing because this polystyrene and foam filled dragon was the source of the scent....so what should i do with this thing? I decided to google it...and stumbled upon your post...I thougth i would run it past you just to see what you have found or what i can do about this. Furthermore my son has developed a cough since the thing has been in his room and if this is what caused it who do i sue???lol thanks for your time! you would not believe how bad this thing smells! If you could smell it for yourself you would see what I am talking about. I am not a genius however i am a generally intelligent human being. That said however I was at a total loss as to HOW a huge stuffed animal that was never wet slowly acquired this mildewy odor that continues to worsen over time outgassing and filling first my son's room and then the entire hallway! it made all of us cough in fact, my throat is still sore. And yes it says made in china all new materials polystyrene foam beads made in china. If there is indeed a company or group interested in testing this product I would be happy to ship it to them. i am pregnant and would like to know i have not been exposed to something particularly harmful to my son or my unborn child.
Check out the nasty smell of the less expensive plastic storage containers and kitchen gadgets you can buy at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc. You can smell it as you walk down the isles.
I bought this from Amazon - it's a breathing exerciser. Despite the smell, I tried it and used it for inspirational and expirational exercises - five of each before I couldn't take the taste and smell anymore. The toxic taste went from my lungs to my mouth every time I breathed for HOURS after using it. This scared me, so I began doing a search for toxic plastic smell and after much clicking around came upon your site. Can you believe they're using this on something you're putting into your mouth and inhaling and exhaling? I swear this is a Chinese plot to kill Americans. Or maybe it's our government's plot since they're allowing it. (just kidding - I don't wear a tinfoil hat. at least I think I'm kidding - I'll give that further thought!) This is the item: It's an Ultrabreathe Breathing Exerciser. Also - I did a google search using this phrase and got 18,700,000 results!!! 'Amazon + toxic plastic smell'. Don't believe me - do a search yourself and you'll be shocked. Thanks again for your great site.
hi, i am from Macedonia (former yugoslav republic of) and i am glad that i am not the only one that senses this smells-like-**** china smell in many products, here is my case: abot a year ago i ordered Puma cross country spike shoes from "first to the finish.com" and i never thought that anything could be wrong with them... the shoes came from USA with USPS express mail and the first thing that striked me was the label "made in China" on the shoe box...ok i said, many things are made in china...but when i opened the box, and this was happening in my car i literally had to step out of the car because the smell was like mixture of thousand dead rats in a pig farm... i don't joke i couldnt believe i was instantly dissapointed in everything... PUMA, USA, everything...how can puma let production like this to hit the market, how can USA let something like this to enter USA ??? so to make long story short: i put those shoes on the roof of my garage in the open sun and wind and never went near them.... but yesterday i received new cycling shoes from "Wiggle.co.uk" it is "LAKE cx236" and guess what...VERY SAME SMELL just not that strong...so...i paid nearly 250 $ including shipping and customs just to find out that they are made in china and they smell like.....well....****...this time they came with Royal mail from England...i can only say that this pisses me off, i guess the whole world became one **** smelly chinese place...i can not live with that smell because it has negative effect on my mood so i went on the roof of the garage to see what happened after more than one year...and the puma still smells like hell...i don't know what to do...at this moment i can only say that now i believe in every "conspiracy theory" that i see on national geographic or anywhere else on the internet...i just want to say that in former Yugoslavia (although i don't remember much of it because i was litle kid when Yugoslavia started to fall apart) my father tells me: there was no made i china smelly stuff... sorry for bothering but i had to say this to someone...
Thank you, for helping spread the word about these horrible. toxic chinese-made products. I have encountered several variants of the odor described on your website - the worst offender, in my mind, being the napthalene-like overpowering smell from products (as well as entire aisles) of discount (dollar) stores. But I am not sure if anyone has mentioned the horrid mildewy/moldy smell often emitted by plastic bags. It is just awful! Today I purchased a toy at an amusement park for my son, and the bag in which it was packaged reeked (like strong mildew).The smell had been transferred to the paper backing as well as the toy. I don't understand how products can be sold in such "unsafe" packaging. A few months ago, I purchased an E.T. action figure. The figure's garb (made of some rubbery material made to resemble cloth) smelled so awful that I had to throw it out immediately. The odor was similar to concentrated acetone, but even more powerful and nauseating. I was afraid to let my son play with the toy even though it did not smell, because it had been in contact with the other material. I tried contacting the manufacturer by email (no phone number listed) but never received a response. I sent three emails total. Still very angry about the situation!
I was just hired at Walmart as a bicycle assembler. Today was my first day of working on the job and I have to say I have thoroughly experienced all the things you just mentioned. In the morning we went out to the trailers that the bikes were stored in to get them to build them. I noticed immediatly that it smelled horrible. In my opinion its smell like as if I took a swig of motor oil. I figured that it was because the trailer heats up in the sun that the bicycle tires offgas. Now that I've read your website Im not so sure. I do have to say that my trainer is going to part-time due to "health concerns". Later in the day I was really noticing the affect of the smell on my body. Everytime I opened a bicycle box to build a bicycle the smell would hit me strong. ... I am very concerned about this. I do know how it would be handled if I voiced my concerns. though. Im sure a manager would think I was crazy or too sensitive. They would probably just say, "Take the job or leave it.". Regardless, today was day one, and my throat and sinus cavity have been feeling numb/raw for over an hour and forty five minutes after leaving the store. So sad that I dont really have a better opiton for employment right now.
Ditto. Same stories, different products. Mine is a collapsible stool with storage space inside and a padded lid. Before removing it from the wrapper I noticed a horrible smell. After leaving it outside all night and saturating it with sunlight all day (to no avail), I decided to carefully wash the vinyl with dish soap. I also sprayed the fabric liner and bottom with Fabreeze but the smell lingers. I really want the stool but my better judgement tells me it is going back to the store. We need to bring our industries back from China and stop importing these noxious smelling products. Thanks for an excellent website. ... Yes, it was made in China and it is going back. We bought it in Reno at Grocery Outlet so for the next couple of weeks it will be on my porch polluting the outside air. I am looking online right now to see if I can find a replacement. It's a nifty stool but don't think that smell can be a good thing!
Our gym just bought new weights from China and the smell is so strong, it’s hard to breathe in the room. And you can’t get the smell off your hands. The weights feel greasy and I wonder if we are absorbing the chemicals through our skin.
We recently received a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker as a gift. I cleaned it per instructions, then brewed a pot of coffee. It tasted like plastic. I called the company, & they asked me to return it for analysis. In return they sent another model. Same problem. The inside of the coffeemaker smells strongly like plastic, & the coffee tastes like it, too. I looked on the Internet & there are lots of posts from people having the same problem with Mr. Coffee coffeemakers (which are made in China) & other brands as well. I am not sure I will keep the coffeemaker, as I am not confident in the safety or quality of products made in China. My old Mr. Coffee coffeemaker made fine-tasting coffee, but was made in Taiwan.
Thank you for your site . You are warning people of exactly what i have been saying since 2005 . This is a new smell and it doesn't air out. it causes me migraines. i first noticed it in an orange extension cord from home depot i have been using them for thirty years suddenly my garage smelled like vinyl and after six months it was just as strong. i went back to home depot and made a surprising discovery the exact one made in the Philippians didn't smell and the one from china smelled from ten feet away, I said then that this is not right and that china was trying to kill us. my biggest fear was that they would start using it in house wire. well sure enough the coaxial cable wire is now from china and is being installed in the walls of new houses this is a huge problem . because you cant get rid of it and it doesn't air out.. Its also used on new ac systems in the wiring and in the duct work pumping the smell all through the house. I think some people cant smell it. but those who can can smell it from far away bought some eye glasses and the Little plastic nose rest were so bad i had to toss them. i am about to build a house and i am going to spec no products from china.i tried to get a reporter on this 5 years ago . no luck
I recently bought a pair of plastic flip flops at my local Hobby Lobby. They smelled bad, but I thought the smell would go away. I sat them outside, but the smell stayed strong. When they were in my closet, opening the door made me gag, but I still thought it would 'air out'. I opened a parcel I had gotten in the mail and the plastic bag inside had the same smell. Some of the items I bought (make up, brushes, etc) were in a soft plastic clear sleeve that also smelled. After Googling 'stinky plastic' I found your website. It`s appalling that the US is importing these products! I threw out all the stinky items and will be much more careful what I buy from now on!! The flip flops and plastic bags were made in China, but i`m not sure of the plastic sleeves the make up brushes were in, there was no mark as far as I could see. That makeup brand is made in China, so likely the sleeves were also. I have been shopping in Dollar stores for flip flops and have found lots of them with the same smell, some stronger than others.
I work part time in an interior design home furnishings store in Shreveport, LA. Everything we sell is from China. 16,000 sq feet of products. Decorations, furniture, etc. I just began working there in October of 2011. During the Christmas season we sold lots and lots of what I call glitter sticks -- Glittery Christmas picks that you can stick into a christmas tree for ornamentation. The glitter that falls off and is swept into the air is not insignificant. I breathed a lot of it. I worried from the beginning that this was NOT healthy. The smell was nauseous. Sometimes we would open the boxes and it smelled like someone had puked into it. I asked our GM about the toxicity of what we were selling. She said she did not want to know and laughed. In January I came down with a very weird virus; we were all sick. Then I got Pericarditis, which I am still battling. Of course, there is no way to prove anything, but I think the toxins I am breathing have something to do with my health condition.
Yesterday, I ventured into the Harbor Freight Store in Albuquerque, for the first time. ... The second I opened the door, the pungent and nostril burning toxic smell hit my nose and I should have just turned and left, but as I wanted to explore, didn't. After browsing for a few minutes and purchasing several items, I headed home.
About 6 hours later, I experienced a full blown attack of very bad allergic rhinitis, which I suffer from, from pollen, etc., however, the pollen levels here have been dropping and are pretty low....even on the bad pollen days, my allergies were not as bad as yesterday. I may have been on what is called the threshhold of tolerance, and the smell at Harbor Freight pushed my immune system on overload.! I had a miserable night and day today, and finally, after about 18 hours, the symptoms are subsiding.
I must say that I will not be returning to this store and I can't understand how the employees tolerate it, even if you don't have allergies. Isn't OSHA responsible for these type of working conditions?
I'm really glad to have come across your article! I was googling around for exactly the same reason! I purchased bunch of purse hooks from China over the past few months and have not noticed anything until the last batch I just received yesterday which was so strong it made me go back to the other batches I've bought to check. Sure enough, they all emit the same odour, some stronger than others. It's the backing on the purse hook that smells which is made of some kind of non-slip 'rubber'. The batch I got yesterday smells even on the jewel part. (Purse hooks look like jewelery with a gem on top and rubber backing on the underside and a foldable hook that wraps around so that when it is unfolded it us used as a hook upon which you hang a bag or purse from a table top).
Here's something else I've noticed that I have not found info on yet but you might be interested: I've noticed a number of plastic items made in China (including a kitchen drain board for dishes and the back of my wall mounted clock and to my horror food containers) will not only discolour but will discolour any items with which it is in contact. I always suspected it was offgassing a chemical which then reacted on the surface of what it touched to prouduce this characteristic brownish-yellow tint. It looks like cigarette smoke stains on the wall where my clock is hanging. Same with the other 2 plastics I mentioned. I'll clean it off and then months later it will reappear.
So it's not just offgassing chemical smells that worry me, it's what we don't smell as I suspect with the discolouration of plastics.
It's not just plastic. For many years I've noticed it in cheap chinese rubber, like small tires sold at Harbor Freight. Sometimes It'll be in a rubber product at WalMart. I recently bought some Belkin mouse pads from Amazon, and it was in those! Right in the garbage they went. I probably violated the EPA Toxic Substances Act by throwing them away. The stuff gives me a headache. I complain to any store that sells anything with it in it. It is clearly toxic.
I have also noticed smelly plastic parts from China, and would like to add the following items:
- Leatherman tool: the plastic pieces that hold the screw bits for the screw driver have a toxic smell. I had to throw them away.
- Wahl Peanut hair trimmer: although the trimmer is made in the USA, the plastic pieces that come with it have a toxic smell.
- Old Navy mens boxer shorts rubber waist band. Terrrible, I returned them.
Some of the toxic items we have purchased: Tool box from Lowes, that stunk up our van so bad that we could not even get in it, nor allow our children in it. We had to have the carpets professionally cleaned, and yet it still stinks. Claimed to be made in USA, and the tool box itself may have been, but the wheels on the bottom were purchased from China, so hardly a US made product. Returned to store. Training wheels for my sons bike, branded by Schwinn, but made in China by a toxic rubber company, for Schwinn. Wow, the smell emanated from these things 20 ft away, even stinking up the car on the way home, and then the entire garage. Returned to store. Another item was a high priced wallet($110), purchased online from a reputable store. It claimed to be Italian genuine leather , but it was toxic crap from China. Turns out it was supposedly ‘designed’ in Italy—..deceptive marketing by Chinese companies. Returned. There have been many other items that we have had to purchase, as well as so many friends have also run into the same issues.
I purchased a swing chair, made in good old USA, and it has no smell at all. The stand that was sold to me however, was made in China, and smells like pesticides and vomit. It has been 3 days, and the smell is just floating in the air in my house. This whole swing is going out on the porch if the smell doesn't dissipate soon. I will be contacting the company I bought it from to complain. I just don't see why the beautiful USA made chair has to hang from that toxic waste dump-smelling stand!! It's just wrong! Thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront!
The Wal-Mart store is beginning to smell like the "Smelly China smell" when you walk in. Many of the boxes are horrible as they are unpacking, even food boxes and containers. The China clothing smells. The Dollar General had sweats for $3 outside on a rack. I grabbed a set, ran in got what I needed. I have washed them three times, soap, oxyclean, washed with dryer sheets, dried with dryer sheets, still it is off gassing. Sunshine has not dispersed. The odor gives me a headache. Scrub sponges for cleaning dishes I had to throw outside hoping the sun would disperse the odor. No. The odor is fused into the plastic scrub covering. The Dollar General and Dollar Tree sacks gag me if I forget to take my own. They go outside or don't even go inside my home.
I came across your site while searching for a means to eliminate odor from my hookah air breathing hoses, manufactured in China. There has always been a little smell from these hoses, but over the past few years, it's been terrible. I have noticed that I can hardly walk past the bicycle display at Walmart with holding my breath. What's going on? I believe there are some serious chemicals being used in manufacturing these products. Our authorities seem to be doing nothing about this. Maybe it's time for a class action suit. This seems to be the only thing they understand---
Like the other people quoted on your site, I've noticed anything rubber from China has a very toxic smell. Black rubber seems the worst. I got one pair of black rubber door stops from the Dollar Store in 2008, and they smelled up everything I put it in. That's when I started to worry. This year, we got my son some rubber coated dumbells from Big 5. They were not cheap. Only noticed after he opened them at Christmas that they reeked. Left them out in the garage for a month, and the smell did not change. Took one of the weights and washed it in very hot soapy water, thinking it might just be a mold release chemical on the surface, but the odor did not change. Cannot bring it in the house, not even a few pieces of it; the entire room starts to reek. ... No Chinese rubber for me anymore. There is something they're doing to cut corners and we will be paying for it down the road.
I was grateful to find your website about the chemical smelling - and TASTING - products from China - and elsewhere. I received a Keurig coffee maker for my birthday and the drinks were undrinkable. My daughter said her tea tasted like the smell of a dentists office. Sure enough - I tasted it and it tasted like novacaine. Horribly foul. I brewed several more cups and all the same. The unit is all plastic and I don't care if running vinegar through it would improve the smell and taste - the fact that something is in that plastic has been demonstrably proven and I won't be drinking anything from it. I'm taking it back. ... I checked the box last night and it was made in China. I wish I did have access to a lab to have that water tested. The box says that the parts that touch the water are BPC free, but I would bet not. I won't be using it.
Cuisinart toaster: After I brought the second one home, I realised it was not a defect or some burning plastic what I smelled in the first, but degassing from the plastic components in the toaster. ... Oh it's made in China through and through. It is now in my garage waiting to go back to Costco. Thanks for the public service info.
Product: Vera Bradley fabric bags. made in China. Toxic smell is terrible; permeates a room. Is there any way to stop it? How toxic is the chemical? sheep dip accurately describes the smell.
DVD cases are another thing to watch out for, it seems. I didn't know about stinky plastic until I bought a DVD with a plastic case that emitted a horrible smell. Letting it air out for weeks had no effect; it still stunk up any room it was left in, and I had to throw it away. Reviews on Amazon of packs of empty cases indicate that this is a very common problem--but only with the (most common) black cases, supposedly because they are often made from recycled plastic full of accumulated toxins. And I recently bought a replacement fan for my laptop which I can't install because that would only amplify the nasty stench it's emitting, the same smell as the one from the DVD case. Naturally, these fans are "Made In China".
Has this issue been brought to the attention of national media outlets? ... The Details, briefly:
This is obviously being caused by some chemical that was not properly bound in the manufacturing process and/or is an overdosing of an added agent of some pesticide or preservative type nature. This chemical(s) is freely permeating and persisting in substances with which it has contact and which is out gassing itself without limits. ...
- purchased two plastic coated under the shelf organizational basket (USB's)
- noted bad odor and assumed it was from cardboard packaging as I own prior purchases of this product without any odor or trouble
- also had recently gone through many "washings" and "airings" of recently purchased mattress pads with similar odors (my husband and I had just finished complaining of that "Made in China" smell and now we felt we were dealing with it again)
- ran the USB's through the dishwasher to be sure they were clean as I have washed other USB's in the past without incident
- the odor magnified, permeated, and has persisted in all plastic parts in the dishwasher, in the pvc piping, and any other plastic item in the dishwasher being washed at that time. The very toxic and sickly odor persists a year later!
- I became quite ill and sought medical help
ps: have begun returning any products that have an odor to a manager of the store with my reason for the return or I take the smelly product to the manager and tell them why I will not buy it. Most recently was an air purifier (lol) just purifying my air and blowing it out full of smelly China plastics!
After visiting your website, I had to write and add my story. I purchased some "Beauty Equation" reusable heat gel packs (made in Chine) from eBay. It's a gel-filled vinyl pouch that heats up instantly when you snap the little metal disc inside. Then you have to put it in boiling water for a few minutes to re-activate it for re-use. As soon as I removed them from the packaging, I noticed a strong chemical odor. When I activated two of them and they heated up, I was overcome with nausea, dizziness and headache. I have contacted the seller and am going to try to return them as I don't even want them in my house at this point. I'm no scientist, but my instincts tell me that a chemical smell that causes that kind of reaction has got to be toxic. It's worth noting that I have the same type of heat gel pack that is made in the USA and it has no odor whatsoever.
I can't tell you how happy I am that this subject is finally coming to light. For nearly 10 years I have been noticing a chemical smell emitting and laeching from many plastic toys made in China my kids have had over the years. The toys that do have the smell always seem to be on the softer plastic parts and especially the translucent clear and translucent colored plastics. When handling this type of plastic the odor causing chemical is transferred to the skin easily and can be smelled on the hands for quite some time after handling, so much so that I would make sure my kids washed their hands after playing with the toy or just take it away all together. My sons would always get very mad at me about this. They are much older now and after I showed them this web site they now understand my concerns.One of the most troubling instances of my encouters with this chemical smell was in 2003 on The Finding Nemo toys that came with McDonalds Happy Meals. The odor was emitting from the soft plastic fin parts. This was very troubling to me because the chemical would come off on the hands while my kids were playing with the toy and eating.Some of the other toys I have found this chemical leaching from include some Matel Action figures, Ben 10 action figures, the translucent colored pegs for Light Brite, the translucent colored plasic gems and accesories with Sonic the Hedgehog action figures just to name a few.Another troubling place I have been finding this type of plastic lately has been on the soft clear plastic nose pads on reading glasses where it is in contact with the skin for extended periods and being inhaled when wearing. You will find it on just about every pair of reading glasses at dollar stores and even on the more expensive pairs elseware like Insight Readers at Rite Aid made in China.I dont think this is the same chemical smell some speak of emmiting from luggage and cases (I have encoutered them as well) but something different and in my opinion more troubling in that it is in Toys.I agree these chemicals need to be identified and exposed. I will be adding a link to this site to my facebook and sending to everyone I know.
Hi there, I purchased a jacket from Sam’s club that is made in China. It is 100% polyester with Polyester faux fur. It’s been hanging outside or in the garage for two weeks now and the smell is not diminishing. The clerk at Sam’s said to “just hang it outside and the smell will go away”. I’ve not washed it because then I won’t be able to return it. Pretty nasty smell, like someone’s been working in an auto plant or something. I Can’t find anything about getting the smell out (searched on Google) Appreciate your article and you efforts. I’m 56yo and I don’t remember ever smelling this growing up. Even Barbie “aired out” after a short period.
I live in the UK. I recently ordered York 20kg Cast Iron Dumbell Set from amazon. Yesterday when I received it, I was excited and eagerly unpacked and assembled it and started some lifting practice. Then I noticed a very bad smell in my hands which just originated from the rubber grips. When I washed my hands, the smell still persisted at least for an hour or more. AND THE CARTON HAD THIS SET OF VERY RELEVANT WORDS: MADE IN CHINA. But I was ambiguous yesterday on what to do next. This morning when I woke up after leaving it in my bedroom overnight, I found the smell pervaded all of my room and was horribly intolerable. I just want to throw it away.
I have just purchased a Black and Decker coffee pot (from Amazon.com) that came recommended as one of better cheaper brewers on the market. I was very disappointed when I opened the box and discovered the horrible chemical smell emnating from the lid of the carafe and also from the brew basket and, well, just about the whole thing is plastic and so the whole thing smells. I have encountered this smell before on a salad spinner from walmart, a little training toilet, and several other random items and I am so offended by it. I have returned every single item to get rid of that smell. I am horrified to find this in a food/beverage machine. It is unbelievable that I, or anyone else, would consume anything that comes in contact with this odor. I ran one pot of water through to see if the smell would go away, but it didn't. It actually smelled even worse when it was wet and hot. I am NOT going to drink any hot beverage brewed in that pot! The coffee pot is made in China. The smell reminds me of diesel fuel which also gives me a headache. I am glad to know that others are aware of this and have the same reaction.
I came across your site looking for complaints of smells from light bulbs. I bought several incandecent and energy efficient bulbs made in china marketed by GE. After a few minutes of heat from the bulbs the smells begin... like wires burning, chenical like. I switched bulbs to different locations and it happens in the new location. So it is not the paddle fan or the light strip. I called GE and they said it is just the glue used to hold the glass to the metal base.
I purchased an office chair from Wal-Mart 3 days ago and it is reeking of a chemical smell that is irritating my eyes and sinuses. I have wiped the chair down but still smells horrible. It actually fills the whole entire upstairs level of my house with this chemical smell.
Hi there, I am from Croatia and i ordered make-up brushes on e bay from China, the package containted brushes and cosmetic bag. When i got the item i was shocked with the smell, it was horrible,i am certain that it is something toxic..... The worst thing is that the make up tool bag was for my mother... And i taught about the people who are making this kind of products in China, it must be horrible for them, breathing this kind of smell every day. In Croatia, there are a lot of chinese stores, and they all have that smeel, i once bought a wallet and the smell was horrible, but it worn off after few months...
I recently purchased 28 sheets of cardstock paper, heavily layered with glitter. When I opened the package the odor that came from the paper was very offensive. I put the paper on my enclosed back porch thinking it would dissipate if left there for a couple of hours..............upon checking it later the entire back porch was permeated with the smell. Tried for three days to get rid of odor to no avail. Finally, after hassling with the place I purchase it, was able to return the paper.
Got to thinking about it and called BoBunny Press out in Layton, UT (they are the company that the paper is designed by) and was informed that yes there was an odor to the paper from this "product" that China was using to stick the glitter on with, but China had informed them that it would eventually go away. I ask them what the product was, and that the smell seemed to be more chemical than anything else and that I didn't feel comfortable taking China's word that it was harmless and they said they didn't know what they had used.
I do my scrapbooking in my basement (a large area) and 28 sheets of that paper permeated almost all of the basement. After breathing it in for a while I got a headache at which point I decided to return the paper ...
I had notice the odor on some items I purchased from a dollar store moths ago. Everything was about $5 altogether and I disposed of it. The new episode happened a week ago when I received a backpack I purchased on eBay. The item came from Korea and was manufactured in china. The smell was so strong and awful. It filled my place and made me sick; with vomit and all.
Vivo en Málaga, Andalucía, y hace unos días compré una agenda telefónica en una tienda de chinos. ... Al llegar a casa y quitar el plástico, la agenda desprendió un fortísimo olor que lo ha impregado todo, la mesa, las manos, la habitación, me ha impregnado las fosas nasales, produciéndome mareos, naúseas y dolor de cabeza. Me he lavado las manos, el brazo que he apoyado en la mesa, la mesa, he cogido 2 bolsas de plástico y he guardado la agenda en ellas cerrándola lo mejor posible. Ha pasado un rato y todavía me encuentro mal, aún después de haberme limpiado las fosas nasales, las manos, el brazo, la mesa, abrir las ventanas... Ese mismo olor, no tan tan fuerte, pero el mismo olor, ya se nota al entrar en las tiendas de los chinos, no hace falta llegar al fondo de la tienda o acercar la nariz a las estanterías con los productos. Huele desde la puerta de entrada.
I recently purchased a pair of shoes from skechers online because it was such a great deal. I left them in my closet for a few months still wrapped in plastic because I wasn't going to wear them till the weather turned cooler. I just recently brought them out and WOW they stink really bad. Made in China. Product Number: 62358/BRN Skechers. ... My son had some skechers last year that had the same odor and we just threw them away.
Mouse Mat. After opening the package straight away there was a strong smell of rubber, I thought this was just the newness of the item and the smell would dissipate after a few hours, however this did not happen and after six hours of sitting on my desk, with all the upstairs windows open, this toxic mouse mat has stunk out my office and the whole upstairs of my home, six days on after the item was put in my shed to air, it still stinks the same, with only six hours of exposure and being wash down ten times my desk and mouse still stink to high heaven with this thing. God knows how this will affect my health, it’s so potent. Oh and now my shed stinks as well!
I found your site after searching for the cause of an odor that entered my bedroom when I purchased a large plastic cat litter box from Petco, the Petco brand. I did not pull the top and bottom apart or take off the connectors, but put it at the foot of my bed. The smell was so overwhelming I feared for my health, as I have asthma. It was in my bedroom for four nights before I returned it. Unfortunately, a continual smell is still emanating from that area three months later. It smells like a combination of skunk, sesame oil, and plastic, and is very strong, though not as strong as when the box was in the bedroom. I notice it whenever I pass by the place where I put the litter box, and other people notice it as well. I cannot find any other source, so I assume it is leftover from some chemical in the plastic. ... I'm thinking of throwing away my bedspread, which was in contact with the edge of the litter box. I find it hard to believe that the smell could linger to this extent.
From the moment I took them out of their shipping bag, my recently purchased shoes gave off a strong smell ... I very naturally associated this odor with new shoes (having had occasion to visit any number of shoe repair shops over the course of my 60 years); however, the smell did not dissipate but tended to intensely permeate the area where the shoes might be situated (closet, etc.). I wore them to work today for the first time and ended up taking them off (here in my cubicle where I work) after about 5 hours or so. The smell has been strong all day long throughout my cubicle area, and prior to removing them, my feet had begun to feel oddly warm (similar to the effect of a liniment, like Bengay ointment). My feet (after about 2 hours now) continue to feel this ‘warming’ effect. Not sure what chemical reaction I am experiencing. Worrisome!
The shoes were purchased through the catalog retailer Blair (... Blair.com) and are labeled with Blair’s ‘Irvine Park’ brand. They are purportedly 100% leather in the uppers (dyed black) and lining (dyed a medium gray), with the soles being ‘man made’ (which, no doubt, translates to some sort of plastic). ... I did go to the ‘Safe Chemicals Act of 2011’ site to send emails to my Senators here in Tennessee. Keep up the good work. I may see if there is some local chemical testing lab that would be willing to take on my shoes as a ‘project’.
Clear vinyl carpet runner with the little nubs purchased from Home Depot smells like skunk so bad, I have to take it back. It's nauseating. I checked and, yes, it was made in China.
bought a sink spray hose from Wal-Mart (made in China) and installed it - it makes the water smell terrible and has a distinctive bad taste to the water that runs through it - we can't use the hose to fill the coffee pot anymore due the strong bad taste - have tried leaving it open with a rubbler band around it and running water both hot and cold through it for hours on end and still the smell and taste is there
A sweatshirt I bought at the airport a few weeks ago has made me physically ill both times I've worn it. The first time I wore it I developed a scratchy throat and headache and thought that there was repaving somewhere in the neighborhood because of that distinct awful smell of burning asphalt. I wore it again this weekend for a couple of hours and developed the same symptoms and realized the asphalt smell was coming from my sweatshirt! The sweatshirt was made in China. Surprisingly there are very few easy to access sites like yours, but I made sure to post it on my FB account and email to my friends.
I had recently purchased two Chinese made articles, a set of dumbells and then a mechanic's tool cart, both of which produced an intense, throat irritating gas. The dumbell smell came from their vinyl coating; the mechanic tool cart's vinyl wheels smelled. I was struck dumb when I came across your website. I knew that I could not be alone but was shocked at the breadth of this problem. Obviously, something has to be done about this situation.
Very glad to have found your site; this problem appears to be ubiquitous, yet largely overlooked by the average American! We have had three recent experiences here in Washington State that underscore the issue; number 3 was a multi-year nightmare (albeit a small-scale one):
1. Received a gift card for Harbor Freight, a nationwide chain offering tools and equipment; product line is apparently 100% Chinese made. ... My son and I were immediately struck by what we felt was an overwhelming chemical odor that pervaded every inch of the store. Sadly, employees and customers seemed completely accustomed to the odor....
2. Recieved a Chinese-made mountain bike (Shogun Trail Machine) this summer as a work-anniversary gift. When the UPS driver unloaded it, we instantly detected a sharp, sweet odor from the cardboard carton. We unpacked the bike and assembled it in our barn. ... The barn (very large interior space) immediately was saturated with a very pervasive vinyl-like odor that we traced to the bike's tires. During assembly inside, close exposure produced minor nausea in several visitors. ... The bike has been parked in an open area for over a month now; the tires are still off-gassing, and the odor can be detected from 50' away.
Meanwhile, the carton sat for several days in the sun until I could make a trip into town to recycle it. Its distinct odor, which I cannot compare to anything else, never abated. In fact, the back of my truck stunk for several days after I recycled the box. The odor did not resemble any fumigant, herbicide or insecticide that we are familiar with, and seemed to thoroughly permeate even the smallest piece of cardboard.
3. Purchased what appeared to be a very well made desk lamp 5 years ago. (...no label on lamp except "made in China"). Placed lamp on desk in bedroom- it operated normally, and was typically used only a few hours per week at most. Soon thereafter, that room began to occasionally smell of death- exactly the same odor that would issue from a dead animal found along the road. It only lasted for a few hours at a time, but during each bout, could be easily recognized by anyone entering the room. Very unpleasant, to say the least! We speculated that a mouse must have died in a wall. When the odor cycles reappeared weeks later, even stronger, I began to investigate more ardently. ...Finally, even though the lamp had been "cleared" previously, I left it switched on for an hour one evening, and this "new" room reeked with the same old odor upon my return. Eureka! When I disassembled the lamp, I found that, even after cooling, the two plastic bulb sockets (resembling old Bakelite in color and texture) smelled so strongly that inspecting them up close made several of us short of breath. No other components (wiring, metal frame, glass shade) seem to have any odor at all. Days later, the two sockets, now sealed in a Ziploc bag, still emit so much odor that it can be detected just by handling the closed bag. ... Now that the issue has been resolved, I am not happy that my family was exposed to these unknown fumes for so long.
I just bought two pairs of sandals during the weekend flea market in Hillsville, VA and the smell is so unbearable. I didn’t notice the odor until I got them home and thought they smelled like moth balls. The odor is coming from the soles and they are like very hard rubber. If you can see the sandals, they leave you very nausea and gives you a headache. The odor tends to intensify. ...The shoe reads: VKVR, USA. MADE IN CHINA.
I just purchased children's barrettes and bungee cords at a discount store ($1 type) while traveling. The packaging smell is nauseatingly awful. They were wrapped in plastic that smelled like intense burning rubber, and I made the mistake of placing them in my suitcase (double bagged), but everything in the suitcase ended up smelling like toxic plastic. My jeans and sweater, all cotton, were the worst. I just don't know what this is or whether my child should be using the barrettes. Thanks for starting this.
Another example for your long list...a few days ago, I purchased gorgeous glittery colored jelly flip-flops at Old Navy. They were reduced from $9.99 to $3.99 so I couldn't resist buying 4 pairs in all of the available colors. Yesterday, two days after purchasing them, I noticed a horrible skunk smell in my bedroom. It was so overpowering that I didn't sleep at all and even escaped the room to sleep on the sofa. ... I started sniffing the various items in my bedroom until, a ha! it was the Old Navy bag with the 4 pairs of shoes in it! The stench was unbearable. It was only after I had thrown the shoes in the trash chute that I googled "jelly shoes" "skunk smell" and discovered I wasn't the only one to experience it. In fact, in one of the reviews on the Old Navy website, a woman complained about the same shoes!
we purchased a kid's quad (Razor brand) made in China for my 7 yr. old grandson from Walmart online. It should be recalled. 7 weeks later with it outside the whole time and many vinegar washes could not end the toxic smell. Walmart will not do anything. I am trying the manufacturer. But now that we must store it inside (basement) , we cannot stand the smell and don't know what to do with this $350.00 toy of my grandson's who will not be using it again until next summer.( Don't have a garage). It is definitely a very toxic smell. If you touch it , after seven weeks, the smell still comes off on your hands. We thought it had stopped smelling when he was riding it. I also purchased a mini vacuum for sewing machines and computers, the hose has been outside in all kinds of weather for 10 months and still smells very toxic. ... I was happy to see your site and know that at least people are discovering this issue.
I bought a pair of ladies sandals last month at Dollar General. They have a hard rubber bottom. Today is the last day I can wear them. Every time I have them on at my desk, the extremely strong chemical smell wafts up from under the desk and makes my eyes and nose burn and I get a headache. My clothes closet reeks of these things. There is no brand name on these Made In China sandals and was probably on the tag. But there is a UPC number and stock number. I’ll go by Dollar General the first chance I get and talk to the manager about this toxic item. Thanks for tracking this on your site.
I have encountered this mystery smell as early as 2001. I brought back several items from china and the suitcase I used to carry them still smells like the goods I purchased. My wife just purchased carry on suit case from Coleman brand and it smells like this mystery chemical. It is at the point where whenever I encounter this odor it reminds me of my stay in china.
I just bought some boys' dress shoes off Amazon. They smell horrendous. I wondered if a skunk had sprayed the box the UPS left on my porch. Turns out it was the shoes inside that smelled. Smells like skunk and burnt rubber. I drenched them inside and out with enzyme neutralizer and left them outside for a week in the sun and rain. They STILL smell. I have figured out it's the liner pad inside the shoe or what the liner lays on that has the smell, not the upper or the sole. TRENDZ brand sold by Amazon. I would throw them away but am saving them in case they are needed for this cause of fighting against these toxic smelling imports. I keep them in the garage they smell so bad.
I purchases the latest fad, "The Ahh Bra" and it smelled horrible like bad plastic. It is made of nylon and spandex from China. It is ok after washing but what happens to my body from it. My heart and lungs lay just beneath those chemicals. Thanks for your efforts. ... I was wrong Lee, washed three times, used vinegar last rinse , still smells like plastic.
I opened a newly purchased from Costco toe tap stainless steel trash can in our three-season patio room with all the windows open and was assailed with the most horrible chemical smell ever. At first I thought it must be the packaging Styrofoam so returned that to the box and put it outside. But the can itself was really awful, so I put that outside on the driveway too with the lid up so it could air out. Then I googled toxic chemical smells from Styrofoam and luckily your site came up. ... there it was: Made in China. The lid, liner ring, non skid base, front control panel and parts of the inner base (the cylindrical shaped "commercial grade stainless steel" can) are all a hard black plastic touted "ABS plastic" on the outside of the box.
I recently purchased a "dual-powered LED Lantern"... The box says the company is Journey's Edge Trademark, "Signature Collection". It wreaks so badly from a petroleum-like odor that I requested an RMA from the seller, who agreed to take it back, and actually offered a 50% discount to just keep it. Not only is the air affected by this odor, but even if you simply touch the rubberized parts of the lantern, then your fingers wreak as well, and continue to wreak even after several handwashings. So I googled this issue and came upon your site. My major concern is if there are any health implications from inhaling this smell, or from even touching it. I can't seem to find any info about that.
It started in 2008, when my first son was born. I was shopping at Babies r' us for clothing and found a pack of baby socks with rubber (logo) on the soles. For some reason I didn't smell anything at the store, but when I got home I became nauseous. The smell had permeated the entire shopping bag and had begun to spread beyond. I was afraid to use any of the other items I had purchased that had shared the shopping bag. I called the company ... Despite the lack of answers, I did receive a reimbursement check from the company after I sent the socks to the quality control department. I then called the store where I had originally purchased the socks. The manager, in agreement with me after sniffing a couple of sets, pulled the remaining stock off the shelves.
Thank you very much for explaining what is going on with shoes I purchased from DSW... I thought the strong chemeical odor would go away, but it hasn't... I think it's permanent. I searched high and low on the internet for an explanation/remedy and found your site... Thank you! Now I know... Probably toxic! Throw them away!!! I don't understand why our government allows this.
I stumbled on to your website after googling safety concerns re odor emitting products from China. Tonight was the third or fourth time I've been so repulsed by the odor of a new product that I was moved to return it.
People unfortunately assume that if they bought something at the store (or amazon.com in my case), that some US government entity had to approve it for its safety to consumers. That's clearly not the case with these Chinese products. I opened a $40 Kensington laptop lock tonight and was immediately repulsed by the made in China odor. Shortly thereafter, I had this odd feeling in the back of my throat, as if the fumes dried it out or something. The last time I got this reaction was from smelling a Chinese-made Audio Technica USB mic's vinyl/fake leather case. Had to immediately toss it. Anyhow, this is not acceptable for me, and shouldn't be for anyone else. What can I do to help you move this cause forward??
I recently purchased a pair of COACH Haylee sandals ("jelly" shoes) that I thought would be great for the summer rains here in FL. They were shipped to me and when I opened the box, it emitted a strong smell. I tried airing them out in a bathroom with the fan on for a few days. I then tried wearing them and had to take them off after 30 minutes because the smell was so strong. I am going to return the shoes and complain to COACH about poor quality.
I first noticed the smell back in 2007 when my mother sent me a bathing suit with bra cups that had this smell, then later that year I smelled it in an asian store in Montreal, since then have noticed it in dollars stores everywhere, I now refuse to enter bargain stores because of the smell, how can it not be toxic? This weekend I purchcased an office chair in a Jysk store in Kamloops BC and while my son assembled it for me I noticed "that smell" eminating from the chair. I have tried washing the chair, covering it with a blanket.... but my intuition screams get it out of here, I will return it to the store.
I have been noticing a strong smell in plastic bags the last few months, a smell that was never there before. First noticed it in the bag that sometimes comes with my newspaper. Then noticed it in some store bags. Now I am smelling it in the copy room at my office. I think it may be the bags that rolls of plotting paper come in. Have you heard any other comments about the new (and very disagreeable) smell in plastic bags?
I recently bought - and returned - several blankets made in China that had horrendous chemical smells. One of the blankets was so soft and thick I decided to try to air it out. I left it outside for over a week and much of the smell was gone. I put the blanket on me for a few minutes and where the blanket touched my skin (my bare feet) started burning!
I live in forida and I recently purchased a mascot uniform from china. When i first put on the mascot head I smelt an overpowering paint thinner smell. I thought it would go away, but I have had it for months and the smell still stays consistant. Im worried because I wear this mascot head for a hour or two at a time and thought this smell could be detrimental to my health.
I found an article you wrote about stinky plastics from China. I recently bought a handbag from Marshalls and it stinks terribly. Smells like chemicals and a skunk or something like that. Do you have any more information on that, and how to get rid of the stench?
Wow....this China product gassing has gone viral. I recently bought a portable water hose cart that was made in China and attempted to assemble it in my family room. About half way through I began to have this horrible taste in my mouth, my wife came barging into the room and screamed what the he%% is that death gas smell? I smelled my shirt and it had infiltrated all of my clothing, I drug the whole mess out on the back deck and opened all the windows to air out the house and it was so bad the smell was coming back in the windows from the deck contaminating the whole house! When was the last time anyone went into Northern (China) Tool & Equipment? After you leave you smell just like that China death gas, the smell is deafening, some lawyer probably has a family member who works at one of those places and is preparing a class action against them. What is that chemical, and what will it do to us over long exposure?
I'm so glad to see that I am not the only one affected by this plastic odor. I sent back pair of shoes that I had ordered off the Internet because I couldn't even take off the lid of the box. The shoes made my whole closet smell terrible from this horrendous odor! That was one year ago. Two years ago, I had to send back a room air conditioner from Sears because of the plastic smell. I ran it for three nights and had headaches each night. I had a friend come over to confirm that I was not the only one who could detect this smell. Yesterday, I was at a store and picked up a plastic wrapped set of pillow covers to look at them more closely. There was that smell again! I started to get a headache so I called my friend over and she said she smelled the odor in the air. After walking away, I still could not get rid of the smell in my head. I smelled my hand and there was the smell! I quickly went to try to wash it off. I thought this experience was just a fluke, but today when I walked down the bedding aisle of a major department store, the whole aisle reeked of that sickening smell. I am suspecting something very harmful that the Chinese are putting in their plastic and am wondering why our government hasn't checked it out yet. The instances of finding this toxic smell in products seems to be getting much worse now. I applaud your efforts to try to start a movement to at least test this material that could be very hazardous to our health.
Thanks for your research on products that smell toxic. I purchased a set of cotton duck curtains from JCPenneys. which were made in China, and these reeked of a synthetic smell. It was so bad I could not sleep in the bedroom where I had hung the curtains. I also recently purchased two personal journals from a company called Pentalic, at my college bookstore. They smelled like toxic glue. They are both made in China.
As a drummer, my most recent encounter was with the rubber feet of newly developed metal stands by an otherwise reputable manufacturer. My pet peeve though are those bright orange rubber mallets in hardware stores! I don't know if you've heard of Harbor Freight Tools, but the entire store is basically a chinese warehouse and the smell is on EVERYTHING. I made a new friend recently who is quite an experienced chemist. I'll let you know what he might have to say about the subject.
I bought a white bookcase for my daughter's room that was made in China. It has a horrible smell to it. It came packed in white styrofoam and sheets of plastic-like/styrofoam-like material. At first I thought it was just the packaging but it's also the bookcase. I've let it air out for a day and it still smells. There's no way that I'm putting it in my daughter's room with that smell attached to it.
I first started noticing these strong odors from products made in China from their silk shirts and that was probably around 2006. ... Based on where I have encountered these smells, in clothing, luggage, rugs, rubber products, and many similarly treated items, I suspect some type of industrial solvent used in their dying or in the case of rubber, in their production process. I would especially like to know how to get rid of those putrid smells and whether they are as hazardous as they smell.
Recently we purchase a small indoor tent for our daughter. This product was a nylon type cloth. I haven't located any rubber or vinyl on it. But it exhibited a very strong odor. I didn't let my daughter play in it until the odor had substantially disipated. She also received another toy that included a tennis ball. That had the same odor, and was soon destined for the trash. The reason I happened upon your site today was that I order some model train materials from E-bay that came directly from a Chinese seller. The box was still sealed, but when I entered the room, I could already smell the strong petroleum odor. When I opened the box, the smell was overwhelming. The item was a bundle of 100 grain of wheat light bulbs. The odor was coming from the insulation on the wire. I had to take these down in the basement immediately. ... This is an obvious and growing problem. And I suspect there could be some near, and possibly long term health effects associated with breathing this byproduct.
My little one got plastic high heels for dress up and my Granddaughter received a plastic remote car for Christmas . They both have a Horrid chemical smell ---- which I think is pretty scary . Both products are from China . What should I do with them ?--- like to send them back to China so they can destroy them ----- I fear for our children that are wearing these products for play and handle them everyday !
I bought a Hamilton Beach Brew Station 6 Cup Coffeemaker, Model 48272. ... Second time I used it, I excitedly brought the cup to my lips and WHAT was that smell? I tasted it. Godawful taste the same as it smelled. ... For Christmas my girlfriend trying to be nice bought me a Black and Decker CM1509 8 Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker. I followed directions, ran a "cleaning" run of cold water, then brewed a pot of coffee. The first pot was OK. This morning the day after Christmas I happily brewed my first morning pot. As I brought that first cup of my favorite coffee to my lips, the aroma of burnt plastic reached my nose. Confused, I took a sip. Yes the coffee tasted like burnt plastic. It tasted familiarly like the Hamilton Beach. Aha, I said. Let me look at the box. Yes it was manufactured in China. ... After drinking this coffee I made a fresh pot with my French Press. It smelled good. But the BAD taste persisted. ... I went and brushed my teeth, gums, all the surfaces of my mouth. I blew my nose. I tried the FP coffee again. Thank God, it tasted as it should. What pernicious substance would cling to my mucous membranes and affect my taste buds and nose sensors so as to make foods that come in contact with it carry that poisonous flavor? What recourse do we citizens of the world have?
I just returned a smelly light switch to Amazon.com. My eyes are still itchy from the allergic reaction. I am interested in what you learn about these awful, awful products. What is the smelly chemical? Is it dangerous? How pathetic that importers pay no attention to the quality of their wares. Here is the name of product I returned: 2x Heath Zenith SL-6108-WH Vacancy Motion Sensor Wall Switch
Recently I have come across a new item. It was a cheap $5.00 Chinese watch with a plastic strap. The smell was so strong that the smell clung to my wrist after wearing the watch only a couple of hours. This happened after I tried washing the smell off with soap and water. I had to take the watch off because the strong smell started making me feel sick. I am very concerned with the chemicals in these plastics. The fact that they make me ill adds to my alarm. Have you had any developments?
If you are still collecting names of products with chemical smells: Sakar International's Digital Concepts 30 minute battery charger. Hard to describe the odor -- except very unpleasant, but on the sweet side. Handling the product transfers odor to your skin and it is hard to wash off. Is there any organized effort to get this situation corrected -- and stop the import of products that are coming from China with horrible odors and unknown health risks?
I was researching this when I came across your post. I just purchased several inexpensive desk/floor mats from Staples. These were definitely made in China and they REEK! The smell almost knocked me over (like a cross between rubbing alcohol and gasoline). No doubt I'll be returning them to the store, but there is definitely some sort of gaseous toxic emission from these mats. No wonder they were selling them at 60% off! Staples, like Wal-Mart and other retail super-giants, buy the bulk of there "house-branded" products from China. They seem to only be concerned about price and probably do not question quality or safety. What's a consumer to do?
I recently bought a power tool made in China that had the same odor that I remembered from other items I have bought that were made in China. I have to add that I bought a case of sand paper back in 1995 that had the same odor. I think the history of these chemicals goes back further than you stated in your web article. I am worried about this odor as I assume it is some sort of pesticide or anti-fungal agent that could not possibly be healthy for humans. I also bought foam ground pads for camping and I could not even use them as they smelled so bad. There was no way I was going to sleep on these pads with the horrible gasses coming out of them. Just thought I would add my 2 cents.
I have experienced chemical odor offgassing from numerous items in the past few years. i have pet birds and get really worried about their well being. The latest and by far most notable came from christmas items made in China and sold through Restoration hardware. They are Snowflake hanging decorations made from glass glitter, glass bulbs wire etc. they are in stores and catalogue now. The packaging just knocked me over..I unwrapped them as quickly as i could, with gloves on the source seemed to be stretchy form wrapped around the glass ornament pieces.similar to the stretchy foam on wire hangars you find that keeps things from slipping off hangers. smelled like kerosene, gasoline and formeldehyde all rolled into one..I actually developed a headache, which went away when i went outdoors for a couple of minutes. What is it with these foreign products!!! most recently 2 upolstered benches, a bed, a "good Quality" and expensive Wool area rug,(that also has Fibers that will probably keep coming out until it is bare, but I keep vaccuming the debris/ incessant fuzz. All really noxious. clothing, bedding Aren't there limits to this on manufactured goods? or just EPA US goods. I've been able to return some items..can't tell in stores. but once in the car!!!! I've driven back . This issue needs publicity. What labs can test for this stuff, any names? i'll save a bit of the foam padding) Thanks for listening
I have noticed that almost all the products that are rubber based from China do smell. In some stores (especially the dollar stores) It unbearable to walk down an isle that has these products. Why hasnt anyone done something about this? I had purchased a pair of "leather shoes" that had been made in China. I didnt notice the smell until got home they had that same Funky smell that the rubber products have. Also the Rubber boots that are from China also has that funky smell. Somebody has to do something. what is causing that horrible smell? Most of the products are in direct contact with human skin!!! Do we need to be worried?
I went to Kmart with my husband to get him some cheap work boots, he basically goes through a pair a year, even the expensive ones, so the cheap ones last just as long, but this time, the shoes smelled like some bad petroleum substance on the rubber. I didn't notice it until he put them on in the house. I said, "hmm, it smells just like the kid's bicycle". It has to be some kind of release agent they use to release the molds of these products, but never in my life have I ever smelled it this bad. I bought a mini trampoline from Walmart last year (even after I said I was never going to set foot in there again) and the same toxic smell permeated my house. I returned it of course, but as far as the boots, he wore them now for 2 days and I fear that the the toxic substance might get absorbed into his feet. Regardless, I asked him if I could return them but getting him to do anything is like pulling teeth. He "don't want to go out and try on another pair of goddamn boots!". I too have noticed that horrible toxic petroleum smell walking around the bicycle area at Kmart and Walmart and ESPECIALLY Harbor Freight. My friend wanted to buy something there and sure enough, opening that door was like a smelly slap in the face. I couldn't stand being in there I told her I had to get out. What can I do to help with this? This is really pissing me off. And thanks for doing what you're doing.
Yesterday I received luggage that I ordered from the TV shopping channel QVC. Once I opened the box, strong fumes began to fill the room. Unfortunately it smells so horrible, that I have no choice but to return it. The smell is similar to petroleum or moth balls. It is very noxious. In fact, it caused me to develop a sore throat and a headache within 15 or 20 minutes. I placed the luggage set in my basement. I'm sure the room where they are now will reek. I feel afraid for families with young children who might order this product. ... I would like to start a campaign to have government and/or watchdog groups (20/20 maybe ?) take a closer look at this. These products are emitting toxic fumes that will make us (and our children) very sick. Not only that, we can imagine how sick the factory workers are. I was successful in submitting a complaint (Report an Unsafe Product) with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and I hope if they receive enough of these, that they will push for a recall of the luggage sets. See this page for listings of Heys luggage with Chinese supplier in the 2nd column. Clicking on the name that appears in Green will display the website of the company.
I am really sick from a sears air pump that runs on a cigarrette lighter outlet. i get a major headache every time i drive my car. I thought i had an exhaust leak and took this pump out of the box and discovered that is the smell and the cause of my sickness. I am ready to sue sears, it took a week away from my car to feel better but not ok. i just got home today, drove my car to an exhaust repair place and they said no leaks, thats when i discovered it was this pump, the smell has permeated my car totally, feel sick the second i sit in it.
The worst thing has been the plastic rubber piece in the Miele Novotronic washing machine we purchased, at a cost of almost $2,000.00. The rubber seal smells of rubber and mothballs and makes your clothing smell of rubber and mothballs when you wash them in this machine. (Apparently some types of rubber contain naptha, and I think the rubber door seal has it in it.) The machine has a design flaw whereby in order for the water not to sit in the seal, the machine pushes the water through it while washing, thus making everything smell terrible. It actually ruined my dressers, making everything smell of mothballs.
We bought it because it is made in Germany, but it appears it is a machine made exclusively for the Canadian market, so I imagine in Europe they most likely have higher end parts in them.
Unfortunately, I cannot use the machine the smell is so bad - and toxic. Miele refused to discuss the issue. Whenever I phone Miele they actually are quite abusive and yell at me, and ask me what my problem is. ... If I'd read about this - anywhere - I never would have purchased it. Sadly I read only positive reviews prior to buying it.
I am glad to hear other people are aware of this issue - I just consigned a lovely plastic purse made by LYDC I bought from e-Bay.co.uk to the bin, because the smell since I opened it just this morning was giving me a headache, sore throat, and even a dry cough - I've had TONS of plastic purses and stuff before, and this has never happened in the past. LYDC's stuff looks great (for its price range) and is all over e-Bay, I wonder how many people will have a bad reaction... I also had to bin some "jelly band" bracelets that I bought last year, because they gave off a smell after days on a sunny windowsill, yet I've bought and worn many of these in the past without any problems AT ALL. It's worrying me that products that were previously problem-free are now toxic, and this stuff makes me feel so ill (sore throat, headache, cough, and worst of all a general sense of malaise - and I'm not a fragile person, I don't have any medical problems or serious allergies) that I wonder where we'll be at in 5, 10 years if this keeps up?
interestingly, the purse I have doesn't have any sign of where it was manufactured, which is highly unusual within the EU (who have their bad points, but are also very hot on quality of materials and so on). Usually goods are even marked with a CE logo, which means they conform to various standards - and I'm not just talking about baby goods or toys, I mean all kinds of stuff, so that's an additional factor here. Their website http://www.lydc.co.uk/ brings up this text ... "Please be aware of the unauthorized LYDC distributor in the US, as their inauthentic products are low-quality copies of LYDC London. They cannot reflect the image of LYDC."
I came across your website after I had bought this noxious product on an ebay store in the UK. It is supposed to be an igloo style pet bed for my small dog.
When it arrived, I could not believe how strong the smell was. I complained that they had sent me an low quality poisonous product and they offered me a refund if I paid to send it back. I refused the refund (illogical I know, but I couldn't bring myself to pay to send it back), so I washed it in the washing machine to see what would happen.
Even after that it still smelled like it belonged in a chemical plant. So I am now looking for somewhere where I can get it chemically analysed. I am so furious with the people who sell it that I feel the need to publicly 'out' them. If I had put my dog inside this thing who knows what noxious gases she would have been breathing all night.
The item was manufactured in the UK, in that it was cut and constructed here, however I suspect the "sherpa fur" and "faux leather" materials were bought in bulk from China.
"Also, has anyone noticed the tag on the handle which is a warning that the "product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause CANCER, or birth defects or other reproductive harm.)? It is bound to be those chemicals that we are smelling!"
"Was very disappointed once I opened the luggage. The smell was horrible. The only way I can describe this was a mildew, musty and/or medicine smell. I even aired it out for three days and still no change."
"I call it...the made in China scent! If you notice, products made in China have a very distinct odor."
"I got a handbag years ago and when I opened the pkg. it just reeked from diesel fuel! We knew that smell because we drive diesel vehicles. I promptly sent it back! Why China would douse items in diesel fuel is beyond me. American made for me all the way with everything now."
"My BIL is a maritime attorney in Seattle, his firm watches over all the ships that come into port with merchandise from China. He's told us for years that it's the 'made in China scent'. Some stores air them out, others don't bother."
"There are certain plastic items from China that I call it the "Chinese plastic smell". I had a calculator that reeked. I also ordered an ozone-type air cleaner from QVC a couple years ago, it's pretty bad when an AIR CLEANER itself smells so bad you can't use it. I tried washing it, and airing it out in the garage for almost a month to no avail."
"I've noticed this too. The smell can't be healthy for us. China has the highest cancer rate in the world. Surely if the U. S. isn't second, we will be soon."
11/13/2010: "I agree with Nicole, but I thought the smell goes away and I used for couple days in my tote bag and everything inside the bag and the bag itself smell the sames. I had to replace pretty much eveything."
"I did read the other reviews before I bought this product, so I opened the packaging knowing full well there would be that smell. Yes it has that "Made in China" smell, but in spite of it I just installed the large and the small one into my expensive Coach bag, which for the big bucks doesn't have enough of pockets. So thanks to this system, the bag has now become functional. To be honest, the smell doesn't seem so bad, and let me assure you that when I open my bag the smell does not hit me in the face. However, I must admit there is still a hint of it, which I hope dissipates over time. So I chose functionality over smell and for me it has been the right choice. "
11/18/2010: "i got these and yes they had a smell but i left them out on the counter for a couple of days out of the pk and the smell went away,i love them,now i can find things in my big tote bags"
"I have the B70 Platinum brewer and yes, I too have the taste and smell of plastic! I have called Keurig and they are shipping me out a new reservoir and K-cup. They know about the issue and think the smell and taste is confined to the reservoir. ...Who knows if China plastic is great to drink!"
"I am having the same problem as everyone else with my Platinum Keurig brewing system. I gave up on it after running it through multiple water cycles, and then water and vinegar cycles. ... I got a big whiff of the chemical smell just by taking it out of the box! Strange! Makes you wonder how healthy it is to drink coffee from this machine!"
"Don't own a Keurig but can tell you ~ this plastic taste is in OTHER machines too. We've owned Mr. Coffees over the last year (3 pots), one other brand (?) from a Wegman's here, and now a Cooks from Penney's (it's the best so far but still has the smell). We kept repurchasing rinsing, washing, and you name it. It fills the air with its awful odor. We've tried rinsing but it never works. The smell is IN the plastic the water runs through and the filter. There is something seriously wrong here but we don't know who we should alert."
"yes it is happenign to me too. i ahve washed the unit several times and ran gallons of water through it and it still tastes like a toxic blend of coffee and melted legos."
"I am happy to come across this discussion, since at least I know we are not alone in our house with this issue and our new Keurig Model B77. My husband and I can both detect a bogus plastic-like smell and taste from the brew made with our machine. We have had other coffee makers in the past and have never had this issue."
I don't remember furniture smelling like that back in the not-so-distant past. It used to be that they smelled kind of good, kind of like WOOD! I started getting curious about what the heck they put in nowadays that makes them smell so bad. And I'm also worried that it might unhealthy to sleep in a room that is permeated with this toxic smell. And finally, I'm wondering if there is any way to get rid of the smell. I checked on the web and there was a lot of complaining about this issue, but no good ideas of how to deal with it--other than not buying furniture made in China, which I guarantee I will not do again."
"What about those stickers (Barbie, Mickey, Marvel Comics etc) that are sold in pasar malams. They have very strong smell too. Are they safe? Come to think of it, I think a lot of children's stuff sold in pasar malams are Made in China."
The Feburary 23, 2005 report is key since it indicates that Harbor Freight products must already have been carrying malodorous products from China by 2004. The manufacturing processes that incorporate these chemicals must therefore have been established by then, and have simply grown in use.
Dear Haier user: Hello, I'm sorry to inconvenience you use! New purchase, a plastic taste, it is normal, you can rest assured, if you can please leave your contact information, we will arrange a responsible officer to contact you.
"Today, around garbage dump, smelly plastic, Xiu Shui waste gas, gray days, pesticides and fertilizers do not give you food plus hormone Sudan Clenbuterol be good ancestors to eat rice, destroying their future food."
To this end, I suggest the Government departments from the market investigation, the six steps, find the production source, the total elimination of the products do not meet health standards. In strict accordance with product standards do not engage in the production of enterprises to be severely punished, such as revocation of business licenses, increased economic sanctions, causing serious consequences shall be investigated for criminal liability. Establish public reporting system by all means to prevent harm to people's health and pollute the environment smelly plastic bags. Circulation on the market has destroyed all smelly plastic bags, the dealer acts of deliberate indulgence distribution, be financial penalties."
|Violin cases from China||
SOLO Expandable Messenger Bag.
A sample I bought in 2004 at Office Max never had any odor. A sample from 2008 does.
|‘Cindys Collection’ 3 Shower Caps
Purchased at Long's Drugs, 2011
Kala Ukulele bag, model "UB", 2011.
Purchased from Manufacturer, 2011
Realspace® Broward High-Back Bonded Leather Chair
Purchased at Office Depot, 2011
|TravelPro Walkabout Lite 3 model, made in China||
Living Accents desk lamp.
The foam pad on the bottom of the base puts out the odor.
|Kala Ukulele bag, model "DUB-K", 2011.||42 Gallon Iron Hold Contractor Bag, 2013.|
|TravelPro Crew 7 line of luggage, made in Thailand||JanSport SuperBreak 24" Wheeled Upright, made in Vietnam|
|Samsonite, made in China, no odor|
"Thousands of Britons who were seriously burnt after sitting on 'toxic sofas' could be in line for compensation totalling £10million. Fifteen retailers including Argos, Homebase and Land of Leather are in the dock after admitting the cheap leather sofas from China were dangerous. Some 200,000 of them were sold, and it is thought tens of thousands of customers could make claims for ill-health and financial loss. ...
The sofas caused fierce allergic reactions in people of all ages. A number required emergency hospital treatment for serious burns, while the symptoms may even have contributed to some deaths. The problem was caused by sachets of a chemical called dimethyl fumarate, an anti-mould agent put inside the sofas to stop them deteriorating during storage and transportation.
DMF can be toxic in tiny amounts, causing serious blistering and bleeding of the skin. Some victims suffered eye problems while others had difficulty breathing. They are furious that retailers which sold thousands of suspect items failed to issue proper warnings and recalls after customers reported falling ill. For many months, the stores continued to sell the sofas and simply brushed away the concerns of customers. This meant hundreds were unable to identify the reason why they were so ill and continuing to get worse. . . .
The chemical behind all the suffering, dimethyl fumarate, is a fungicide and considered so dangerous that those who have to work with it wear protective clothing. Yet Chinese furniture makers simply put it in sachets inside sofas. Presumably they believed that, because the powder was inside the sofa, no one would come to harm. But body heat from those sitting on the furniture made the DMF evaporate. The toxic vapour then seeped out and found its way to its victims."
08/09/2010: "I have been working for a company that has 90% of their clothing line made in China and the problems that come from it. We've had so many shipments that the smell is so bad people have to air them out for a week before putting them in their store. And they can never put them into plastic bins - because the odor is absorbed and then the bins become unusable. I know that sometimes the problem is from them packaging our clothes into plastic bags before they completely dry after the dyeing process. That is an odor that never seems to come out - no matter how many times the item is washed. I love my job and the people I work with - but this is one area that I truly dislike. Please don't reveal my name - I like being employeed."
"Not only do the handbags smell but I bought a leather coat from the Q last year and it had that same horrible smell. I returned it for another one and it also had the same smell....that one went back also. They were made in China."
"I recently received several pieces of furniture (dresser, chest, etc...) from Raymour Flanigan's Build-a-Bear collection. The leadtime on this furniture was 8 weeks, due to the fact that it was manufactured in China. In any case, the toxic smell coming from this furniture is unbearable. My child has been forced to sleep in the guess room as a result. We have tried everything concoction under the sun to eliminate this odor. Nothing seems to work."
"i have bought & returned white children's shelves from target after weeks of "airing" them out. i have now had 3 pieces of white furniture from crate and barrel that still reeked after 6 weeks. they are picking them up. from china.they said several people have complained, but have no answers. the chemical smell caused headaches, sore throat, etc."
"I bought two 5 drawer dressers from Art Van that were made in China. (I didn't realize that when I purchased them.). Cost $500.00. They had an odor which I thought would go away. It's been 8 months. and is still bad. It gets worse when it is humid. The smell is definitly on the finish of the furniture."
"I purchased a wood dresser from Capa Imports in High Point, N. C. several months ago. I too have a noxious odor coming from the drawers!!! I have tried to aire out the drawers and it seems to be better~~~ but as soon as the drawers are closed the odor returns!!! I know that the furniture was made in CHINA!!!! Is this chemical odor something that I should be worried about?"