China-made Apple, Xiaomi phone cases contain toxic substances, consumer council finds

Phone cases being sold at discounted prices at a shop in Singapore.
Lianhe Wanbao

Mobile phone covers keep your phone safe, but do they put you in danger instead?

A recent study in China has found that some mobile phone cases for popular phone models could be too toxic for human use.

According to the Shenzhen Consumer Council, a study of 30 cell phone covers found that seven contained high amounts of toxic substances which could harm the user’s health.

The 30 covers studied were made by 28 different brands, including Apple, Huawei, Samsung and Xiaomi.

And among the allegedly toxic covers, were models made by Apple and Xiaomi and sold on their official websites in China, news website CGTN reported.

The other brands found to have toxic covers were made by Chinese brands Tiya, Yuening and Q-Guo, the South China Morning Post said.

Citing a council official, CGTN reported that the iPhone case studied contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) 47 times above the “normal level”. A toxic pollutant, long-term exposure to PAH has been linked to cancer.

Another phone case made for Xiaomi phones was found to contain excessive plasticizers linked to reproductive defects and decreased fertility, CGTN said.

And if you’re the type who likes bling on your phone, one case with glitter and crystals made by a Chinese brand was found to contain lead 1,550 times above the international safety limit.

China does not currently have specific regulations for phone cases.

Xiaomi later issued a statement saying that the European EN 14372 standard used in the study was not applicable to phone covers, but is more applicable to child use and care products.

In response, the council said that the standard was appropriately applied as young children could bite or put phone covers into their mouths.

Phone covers are a big business in China, with 70% or 20 billion yuan worth produced in Shenzhen every year, China Daily reported.