Plastic covers look innocent enough but hidden dangers lurk

Slipcases used for textbooks have been tested by a local consumer rights protection commission, which has pointed to potential concerns about them. 

Most of the plastic covers used for covering books, DVDs and similar items, are safe from dangerous heavy metal residue but some were found at local markets with solvent residue, according to a report released yesterday by the consumer rights protection commission.

Over half of the plastic covers tested had solvent residue from volatile compounds after processing, such as alcohol, ketone, ester and benzene.

However, none of the samples contained organic compounds that can endanger human health.

The samples, bought from both shops and online, cover major domestic stationery brands such as M&G Stationery and True Color, the commission said.

It advises parents to prevent children from putting their fingers in their months after they have handled slipcases. 

Cute, colorful and even perfumed plastic covers are popular with students, but the safety of these products is often neglected by children and their parents, the commission said.

Chen Jie said she bought her daughter a set of 15 slipcases this semester. "It's convenient to use them. The stationery store offered us a first-grader package, consisting of different sized slipcases for all textbooks and workbooks a first grader required."

She told Shanghai Daily that almost everyone in her daughter's class uses slipcases and she wasn't aware there could be a safety issue with them.

Another mother, surnamed Lu, said her child's school encourages the use of plastic covers as they keep their contents clean. "I will put the newly bought slipcases in a draughty place first, hoping to minimize the effects of any harmful substances," she said.

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