Lab which tested for 'unsafe rubber band looms' taken to task for lack of due diligence

Lab which tested for 'unsafe rubber band looms' taken to task for lack of due diligence

SINGAPORE - The laboratory which had found that five out of eight rubber band loom samples exceeded safe levels of phthalates was admonished by Spring Singapore today for not having exercised due diligence.

In September, there were reports circulating that the hugely popular Rainbow Loom craft kit and its imitations may not be safe for children.

They contain phthalates - a chemical that makes plastics more flexible and durable, but has also been associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Insight Laboratories tested a sample of rubber looms sent to them by Mediacorp for the purpose of running a story on their news website Channel NewsAsia. The test laboratory then released a statement saying that the samples had exceeded safe levels of phthalates, The Straits Times reported.

This led Spring to conduct their own investigations, where they sent samples of the products from retailers for testing to two laboratories accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council. The products were found to contain a concentration of phthalates within the safety requirement of 0.1 per cent.

Upon further investigation, Spring said that Insight Laboratories was not able to provide the test reports to substantiate its initial claims. It only produced the reports three days later, after another set of tests had been conducted.

These results differed from the first set of results released publicly, in that one of the five supposedly failed products was then tested to be safe, Spring said in a statement to the media.

"We further understand that two other retests conducted by Insight Laboratories and their partner laboratory in China respectively had also found that all products passed the safety requirements for phthalates," Spring added.

"As the safety authority for general consumer goods in Singapore, Spring Singapore takes a serious view of all feedback on consumer safety. This includes the proper verification of test results to avoid creating unfounded concerns among consumers."

Spring said that it endeavours to provide timely safety information to the public, but noted that it is critical that "proper verification is conducted to prevent undue public concern."

"In this case, Spring finds Insight Laboratories' conduct and professionalism wanting. We would be referring this issue with Insight Laboratories' accreditation body," the government agency said.

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