Guardia Civil in Alicante seized 30,000 pairs of shoes made in China, and are holding them as a precautionary measure under judicial order. It was found that bags containing Dimethyl Fumarate, a substance which is forbidden in Europe, had been used during fabrication and packing to prevent fungus growing in the shoes and deteriorating them. This product has been proved to cause severe allergic reactions.
The merchandise was seized in El Campello and Elda and samples have been sent away for testing. Meanwhile, the shoes are being held by the Guardia Civil, and if it is found the toxic bags have been used, a criminal suit could be brought against the importer and the product would be taken off the market.
Dimethyl Fumarate can causing itchiness, reddening, eruptions, burns and eczema on the skin, as well as lesions to the eyes and joints. It can also cause acute or chronic breathing problems. The symptoms generally appear several hours after using the shoes, even with socks, as the substance is absorbed by the skin. However, it can be treated with antihistamines, antibiotics and corticoids.
Anyone who suspects they have bought defective shoes should take them back and demand a refund. If they have suffered any type of reaction, they should report the brand.
This is not the first time I have read about problems with products from China. I seem to recall problems with imported toys which didn’t reach American safety standards. At one time, “Made in China” meant it was cheap and inferior; times have changed and many of the quality items we buy are made there now but surely not shoes. Elda was the shoe capital of Spain turning out very high quality footwear.
Personally, I’d rather pay a few Euros more and buy shoes made here in Spain rather than risk my feet in something inferior.