Online fashion retailer Asos has hurriedly withdrawn from sale, a batch of metal-studded belts after they tested positive for Cobalt-60 a radioactive material. According to an internal report obtained by The Guardian, only 49 of the belts across 14 countries were sold before the discovery, and Asos says all
purchasers have been contacted informing them of the danger.
The bizarre nature of the incident has since heightened, as Asos and the supplier of the belts, Haq International, have argued over who’s to blame. The Guardian reports that company boss Faizan Haq was refused permission to inspect the belts — according to Asos, counter-terrorism agencies believe the is a security risk.
According to Asos’ internal report, “the incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the far east are large consumers of scrap metal,” and during the refining process “radioactive sources are sometimes
accidentally melted at the same time.” The company is seeking £100,000 compensation (around $151,000) from Haq International, and initially refused to pay the £64,000 ($96,000) that it owes the company (it’s since offered to pay Haq £24,000). Haq says the ordeal has forced him to cancel orders with other retailers, shut his factory down for five months, and sell his own car to pay legal fees.