Test on Suitcases Revealed:High Levels of Chemicals Found in Some
Suitcases - CHOICE # 428 (June 15, 2012)
A Consumer Council test revealed that Polycyclic Aromatic
Hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which may be carcinogenic, were found
in the side handles of 4 samples of suitcases at levels exceeding
the guidelines set under a German voluntary labelling scheme on
consumer products containing plastics.
The PAHs level of one sample exceeded the limit by around 1,800
times. Various types of phthalate plasticizers were also detected
in some samples.
Customs and Excise Department has advised the agent for the
suitcases of which the handles are found with high PAHs to stop the
sales of the concerned model and to replace the handles.
The Council conducted a test on 19 models of non-cabin suitcases of
over 22" of the hard and soft types, with a retractable handle and
side handle. They were tested for weight, capacity, durability,
overall ease of use and the types of chemicals contained in the
handles of the suitcases.
Coordinated by the International Consumer Research & Testing
(ICRT), the test covered 9 hard suitcases, 7 soft suitcases, and 3
expandable hard suitcases that can be expanded to give extra
capacity, with prices ranging from HK$350 to HK$5,100.
Test results on durability showed that 2 models could not stand on
the drop test, in which the wheels system of 1 model was found
damaged while another model was found with corner and seams
As far as the performance of water resistance was concerned,
fully-loaded samples were put in transport and lying position under
a sprinkle system which simulated a rainfall situation, only 2
models showed better performance.
On the test for hazardous content, it was revealed that no PAHs
were detected in all the retractable handles of the suitcases.
Only two samples were found to contain the plasticizers DEHP or
DIBP, at a level below 0.1%.
For the side handles of the suitcases, 10 out of 19 samples were
found to contain PAHs. Of these, one sample was detected with PAHs
at a level of 17,960mg/kg; while another 3 sample recorded the PAHs
levels from 14.5mg/kg to 61.7mg/kg. No PAHs were found in the
remaining 9 samples.
Some PAHs can be carcinogenic and may be commonly found in
plastics, rubber and lubricating oil. It is possible that during
the manufacturing process, traces of PAHs may be left in the
According to the guidelines set under a voluntary German
certification scheme, GS Mark, the PAHs limit for consumer products
with skin contact for longer than 30 seconds is 10mg/kg while the
relevant limit for consumer products with skin contact up to 30
seconds is 200mg/kg. The Council's test revealed that PAHs
contained in 4 tested samples exceeded the 10mg/kg limit with skin
contact for longer than 30 seconds
For the test on 7 plasticizers on the side handles, no traces of
the plasticizers were found in 11 models. However, 8 samples were
detected to contain at least 2 plasticizers, including the case of
one sample which contained a high level of total PAHs. 5 of those
8 samples were detected to contain 4 or more plasticizers and in
some cases the contents exceeded the level of 0.1%.
Test results of the durability and the overall ease of use of the
tested samples can be found on the latest issue (428) of CHOICE
When selecting suitcases, consumers may find the following tips
- A hard-shell casing provides greater protection for the
content, but in general the suitcase cannot be expanded for extra
capacity. Soft suitcases often include external compartments,
which come in handy when additional capacity is needed. Consumers
can choose according to their preferences.
- Some suitcases may have elaborate or simple internal
accessories: some have built-in internal pockets and retaining
straps for clothes while others do not. Consumers may choose
basing on their needs.
- Suitcases with TSA locks can be opened by the officers of
Transport Security Administration of the USA using universal
"master" keys. Such locks may avoid damaging the suitcases during
|CHOICE magazine is now
also available online (http://choice.yp.com.hk)
and via fixed-line and mobile services of PCCW.
Members from the
media who are invited by this Council to the Press Conference may
quote the content of this Press Statement.
The Consumer Council
reserves all its right (including copyright) in respect of CHOICE
magazine and Onlin CHOICE ( http://choice.yp.com.hk