Bottles, flasks and aluminum cups produced in China for the Italian company Ferrino are blocked at the border

Bottles, flasks and aluminum cups produced in China for the Italian company Ferrino are blocked at the border

Avid campers, beware. Some batches of aluminum water bottles, flasks and cups produced in China for the Italian company Ferrino were blocked at the border. The cause of the shrinkage is the outer coating of neoprene, a synthetic rubber. The bottles revealed a significant release of naphthalene (present in the concentration of 4.7 mg per kg of material) and toluene (0.12 mg / kg). These are two toxic compounds derived from petroleum, so much so that the first is classified as a suspected carcinogen, while the second is considered potentially harmful for reproduction.

The USMAF ( Maritime Air and Border Health Office ) of the port of Genoa had already blocked the importation of the product on 15 February . As Aurelia Fonda, from the Ministry of Health explains, “Italy is one of the few European countries with a border health control system entrusted to the USMAF offices (considered a branch of the Ministry of Health), which carry out hygiene and health checks on vehicles, goods and people arriving on the Italian and EU territory. It is obvious that it is not possible to check everything, as a rule all foods and goods that arouse some suspicion are analyzed ”.

In the case of the water bottle it was the bad smell that emanated that led to border checks and blockades. But only after a long bureaucratic process (the ritual analyzes of ARPA Liguria and a risk assessment requested by the Ministry of Health at the Higher Institute of Health) was the bottle reported to other European countries through the European rapid alert system for RAPEX non-food hazardous products .

Unfortunately, the communication was made officially only at the end of August. “We cannot exclude – observes Fonda – that in the meantime the bottle has entered Europe through other borders, even if there is an” informal “communication system through customs even outside of RAPEX».

«However, it must be specified – continues Fonda – that the toxic material is found in the outer coating of the bottle, since the object is made of aluminum. The danger, therefore, is inhalation and cutaneous, there is no risk of contamination of the water contained in the bottle. The inhalation risk, however, should not be underestimated, because it can cause irritation of the respiratory system, especially in confined spaces such as a camping tent. For this reason, as consumers, it is always a good rule to be wary of anything that smells like plastic, rubber or petrol. The smell is nothing more than a chemical molecule that reaches our nerve endings ».

If the bottle had managed to cross the border and had caused damage to someone, the Ferrino company would have been liable to criminal penalties, according to article 112 of the Consumer Code: “Ignorance is not allowed: those who import products must have their own consultants who verify toxicity because they are as responsible as those who produce them ”, explained Fonda.

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