Bizarre Recall: Radioactive Belts

US border agents apparently made the odd discovery

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 28, 2013 10:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – A major British online clothing merchant has recalled one of its belts due to a small problem: The items are radioactive. Made of leather studded with metal, the belts tested positive for Cobalt-60 and could be dangerous if people wear them for more than 500 hours, Asos said in an internal report obtained by the Guardian. "None of these belts are suitable for public use or possession," the report says. Some 49 of the belts were sold in 14 countries before the radioactivity was discovered by US border agents.

"Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence," says the report, which blames "orphaned radioactive sources [that] are sometimes accidentally melted" alongside scrap metal in "India and the Far East." Asos has pointed a finger at Indian firm Haq International, which it says supplied 641 radioactive belts. Asos wants $150,000 in recall expenses from Haq, whose factory has been closed since the belt issue came to light in December, sparking protests by workers (who have burned Asos honchos in effigy). But Faizan Haq says he has thus far been banned from inspecting the belts, and claims Asos has told him he's been pegged as a security risk by counterterror agencies.

A screen grab from the Asos homepage.
A screen grab from the Asos homepage.   (Asos.com)
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