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Flip-Flop Flap

Claim:   Wal-Mart halted sales of Chinese-made flip-flops after some purchasers reported suffering skin rashes or chemical burns.

TRUE

Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2007]

Don't buy flip flops from Wal-mart!

Many products coming out of china are now being recalled due to unsafe materials to make products and keep the budget at a low cost. Lead is MIXED in the paint for toys and here is what happened when a customer bought a pair of flip flops from wal-mart, these were CHEMICAL BURNS:

[Rest of article at http://www.lamanaphotography.com/walmart.htm]
 

Origins:   In June 2007, Kerry Stiles of Ocklawaha, Florida, purchased a pair of "Sand-N-Sun" flip flops Recalled flip-flops at Wal-Mart. Soon after wearing the sandals (which she donned only a few times), she developed a painful skin rash or chemical burn on her feet that corresponded with the thong portion of her flip-flops.

Stiles' experiences with the fearsome footwear are recounted in full on her web page. She chronicles the development of the injury in a series of photographs spanning the period between 22 June and 8 September 2007. (Some of the photos are better not viewed by the overly sensitive because they depict wounds of a disturbing nature.)

The flip-flops had been manufactured in China. Others who had bought the same brand of sandals reported experiencing similar problems.

In September 2007, Wal-Mart instructed its stores to stop selling the product until it could conduct its own investigation.

The definitive cause of Stiles' reaction to the flip flops is not known — while there might have been a noxious chemical incorporated into the footwear, the unfortunate woman could also have experienced an unusual allergic reaction to some otherwise innocuous chemical used in the manufacturing
process.

Wal-Mart asserts it received only ten complaints about skin irritation related to these flip flops out of seven million pairs sold. The company said in a press release reported upon by Dallas television station KDFW on 11 September 2007 that: "Product safety is a top priority at Wal-Mart and we are taking this report very seriously. Of several million of this product sold, we have had only a few similar claims. Nonetheless, we are removing the product from our shelves for testing and are preventing our registers from selling them."

However, on 13 September 2007, a reporter in Tulsa told of finding a pair of the recalled flip-flops at a Wal-Mart in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Said the reporter: "When we went to the check-out, the computer couldn't scan the price, but the cashier, just trying to be helpful, over-rode the machine and sold them to us."

Stiles challenges Wal-Mart's claim of receiving only ten complaints about the brand of flip-flops that injured her, providing accounts (including photographs) on her web site of others similarly harmed.

Barbara "beachwear beware" Mikkelson

Last updated:   2 June 2009

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Sources:

    Rodriguez, Maggie.   "Wal-Mart Recalls Chinese-Made Flip-Flops."
    The Early Show [CBS].   12 September 2007.

    KOKI-TV [Tulsa].   "Woman Contracts Flip-Flop Rash."
    13 September 2007.

    KDFW-TV [Dallas].   "Wal-Mart Pulling Flip-Flops from Shelves After Complaints."
    11 September 2007.

    KDFW-TV [Dallas].   "Woman Claims Made-in-China Flip-Flops Burned Feet."
    30 August 2007.