A cluster of black, studded, peplum belts offered by high street online retailer ASOS were recalled in January because the items, it turns out, contained radioactive materials.
The news, however, went unnoticed until the Guardian published this report Monday. An internal investigation commissioned by the uber-successful e-retailer called "Project Purple Flower" and obtained by the Guardian revealed that a US border control official pulled one of the offending belts, which tested positive for Cobalt-60. The report added, "Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence."
Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope that can lead to an increased risk of cancer. According to the EPA, prolonged, external exposure to it is "considered a significant threat." The internal report reveals that the contaminated belts, if worn for more than 500 hours, could cause injury to its wearer.
The revelation has lead to a global recall of the belts- 600 were produced, 49 have been sold across 14 countries, and "none of these belts are suitable for public use or possession," it says. With ASOS' nature as an online retailer, the company was thankfully able to reach out to those who purchased the radioactive items within its database.
The dispute behind the belts, however, is a different issue. The items were made by an India-based supplier called Haq International, which has produced items for ASOS for more than a year. The company, which had to shut down its factory for five months, is currently demanding to conduct independent tests on the items. However, the contaminated belts are being kept within a radioactive storage facility.
An ASOS spokesperson issued the following statement to The Daily Beast and Guardian, “A product supplied to ASOS did not meet UK health and safety standards. ASOS worked with all relevant authorities and undertook a precautionary product recall, in line with our high standards of quality and customer care. No other ASOS product lines are affected. ASOS continues to work with the relevant regulatory authorities and is in dialogue with the supplier and the factory workers involved to ensure a satisfactory outcome."