Jeans recall could prompt product liability claims

Date: May 20, 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recalled more than 200,000 items off the shelves after the products were linked to a cancer-causing dye.

Last week, men’s Spitfire Denim Jeans became the latest product to be pulled out of circulation, following bed sheets, children’s clothes and pillowcases.

All of the items contain a carcinogenic dye know as azo dyes. The azo? dyes are currently not banned in Australia, but according to the ABC, retailers have agreements with suppliers that the dye should not be used during manufacture.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the industry authority often checks products in Australia that could contain dangerous chemicals.

“The ACCC conducted testing for hazardous aromatic amines following the referral of specific benzidine-based dyes identified through a National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) risk assessment process,” she said.

Ms Rickard said there was a 97 per cent rate of compliance and while most companies were avoiding the dyes, the organisation was looking into how the dyes were substituted into the manufacturing process.

“The ACCC is continuing to monitor the market and test products. We will work with industry in the event that any further problem articles are identified,” she said.

Exposure to azo dyes can result in skin problems or lead to cancer, so if any “unacceptable concentrations” of the dye are traced in a product, retailers must take the stock out of stores to eliminate any risk to consumers.

Product recalls are an ever-increasing trend in Australia. Data from the ACCC revealed earlier this year that there were 538 consumer level recalls last year. This is up from 480 in 2012 and 448 in 2011. On average, there are over 10 recalls per week.

The food and groceries category represents 9 per cent of all recalls (46 in 2013) and while this number is significant, it would be much higher if trade level or withdrawals on assembly lines were counted.

It is hard to summarise why there are more recalls today, but developments in testing and more awareness from consumers could be playing a key role.

Product liability in NSW

The affects of the azo dye can take some time to develop, but if you are injured by any product regardless of whether it has been recalled or not, you could be eligible for compensation.

Injuries from products are more common than most people think so if you believe you have a case, contact a compensation lawyer at Gerard Malouf & Partners.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.