>Another dark side to contemporary manufacturing practices: US border patrol quarantined a shipment of Asos leather peplum belts after the attached metal studs tested positive for Cobolt-60, a radioactive isotope, The Guardian reports.
The UK company has issued a worldwide recall of the item, which will cause injury if worn for more than 500 hours.
The belts are said to be manufactured by an Indian supplier called Haq Manufacturing, which Asos has been working with for over a year, but the Guardian has not been able to verify that the contaminated belt matches any of the items available in Haq Manufacturing's product list. Asos is demanding £100,000 in damages from the supplier and has withheld £64,000 in payment to the Indian company, which has been forced to cancel orders for another trendy UK brand, Miss Selfridge, and close its factory for five months — 18 Indian workers are now out of work.
According to an internal Asos report seen by The Guardian, the radioactivity was caused by the process for refining scrap metal. It reads in part:
"Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the far east are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn [contaminates the process] and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy or in suspension."