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Public urged not to wear pendant with enhanced radioactivity (with photo)

     The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (October 16) urged members of the public not to wear a type of pendant¡@with an enhanced level of radioactivity, after drawing further samples of such pendants from the market for safety tests.

     In September, similar pendants of another model were found potentially hazardous to health by the department.

     Analysis and testing of samples of a product known as "Quantum Pendant" by the Department of Health and the Government Laboratory revealed that it contained radioactive thorium-232 and uranium-238 with radioactivity of about 7 Bq/g and 1 Bq/g respectively. The limit recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for these radioactive substances in commodity products is 1 Bq/g. Based on the test results, if kept in continuous contact with the skin, the radiation dose from the pendant would be about 20% of the annual skin dose limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).

     According to the Department of Health, short-term contact with the pendant will not result in immediate effects to health. However, wearing the pendant on a long-term basis will increase the risk of skin cancer.

     So far, the C&ED has seized 10 pieces of the pendant from a supplier. Enforcement actions are continuing.

     The C&ED is committed to the protection of consumer interests by ensuring that consumer goods, including pendants, are reasonably safe for use by consumers.

     "The department keeps a close watch on unsafe products announced by local, Mainland and overseas authorities, and regularly conducts surprise checks at retailers and draws samples for safety tests," a department spokesman said.

     Under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, it is an offence to supply, manufacture or import into Hong Kong consumer goods unless the goods comply with the general safety requirement for consumer goods.

     The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $100,000 and  imprisonment for one year on first conviction, and $500,000 and  imprisonment for two years on subsequent conviction.

     To report unsafe consumer goods, consumers can call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or write to the Consumer Protection Bureau, C&ED on the 11th floor, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point.

Ends/Friday, October 16, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:31


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