Samsonite International pulled a brand of luggage made by the company off Hong Kong shelves after a consumer group complained it may contain unusually high levels of a cancer-causing agent.
In a statement Monday issued at the request of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Samsonite said levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, or PAH, found in the handles of three models of Tokyo Chic luggage, made under Samsonite's American Tourister brand, were lower than what was reported in an article published by the Hong Kong Consumer Council.
Samples from the luggage were sent to labs in Germany and Hong Kong. The company did not disclose the exact levels of PAH in the handles, although it did make the decision to withdraw the luggage in question from Hong Kong shelves.
Based on the independent test results, as well as on expert advice the company has received, the company is confident that consumers can continue to use its luggage products without any safety or health concerns, Samsonite said.
Nevertheless, to allay any concerns that consumers may have in light of the allegations contained in the articles, the company has already withdrawn its 2 Tokyo Chic luggage from all of its points of sale in Hong Kong, and will arrange to replace the side-carrying handles of its Tokyo Chic luggage with the next generation handle for concerned customers in the Hong Kong market.
Samsonite's board said there are no legal standards for acceptable PAH levels in luggage.
The company continually monitors applicable legal requirements and strives to ensure that its products meet not only legal standards but also the highest standards of product quality and safety, the statement continued.
The board does not expect the allegations contained in the [articles published by the consumer council] or the actions being taken by the company with respect to the Tokyo Chic product in the Hong Kong market to materially affect the company's results.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are created when carbon-containing materials such as wood, oil, garbage or coal is burned, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. PAH can be found in items such as mothballs and blacktop and in smaller amounts in skin creams and dandruff shampoos. Substances that have high levels of PAH include car exhaust and tobacco smoke.
Samsonite is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Shares closed Monday up .92 cents to $13 HKG, or 7.62 percent.