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Clarks Recall Cites Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Clarks issued a product safety recall affecting a number of women’s footwear styles.

The company on Thursday said consumers who purchased the Brinkley and Breeze slip-on, lace-up and mule styles navy color ways and prints should stop wearing the shoes immediately due to testing that revealed some samples contained excess levels of dye chemicals benzidine or dimethoxybenzidine.

Azo” dyes, which are typically used to color textiles and leather goods, can have a carcinogenic effect or trigger allergic reactions and endocrine disruptions, according to the National Institutes of Health. Prolonged direct contact with the shoes’ upper materials can expose wearers to these chemicals, Clarks said in a statement. Used widely, azo dyes do not usually produce these outcomes, but they are restricted in certain jurisdictions.

Clarks has released the names and images of the affected styles.

The footwear company has notified relevant regulatory agencies about the excess presence of the chemicals, and has officially launched a global recall of eight product styles. The Breeze silhouettes, sold in the U.S., are known by as the Brinkley in international markets. According to Clarks, no color ways have been deemed unsafe outside of the navy blue, and no other products in its assortment are affected by or included in the recall.

Clarks’ filing with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that about 113,000 pairs of Breeze shoes were sold in the U.S., as well as 10,000 pairs in Canada. The China-made shoes have been sold at Clarks outlet stores and other branded retail, along with Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, QVC, Shoe Carnival, DSW, Zappos and Amazon from February to October this year for about $65. Many of these retailers have not yet pulled the affected styles from their e-commerce sites.

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The company said it is working with its retail partners to contact consumers who purchased the products, which were a part of Clarks’ Spring 2022 line. Shoppers who have a pair of the shoes are being asked to visit to receive a refund, or contact customer service.

Product safety remains a thorny problem in retail. TJX last month recalled baby blankets whose fibers could choke or strangle infants and paid the CPSC $13 million for selling previously recalled products in a separate incident. Matalan had a similar problem with baby clothes that could potentially choke wearers.  Fire hazard and choking risks were behind another set of children’s apparel recalls in the spring while lead contamination found in kids’ shoes available through Amazon sparked CPSC action. The e-commerce giant also had more than 15,000 foam mattresses subject to recall for violating federal flammability standards. Adidas recently recalled a sneaker style worn by late NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Kids’ sleepwear sold by Amazon and JCPenney was flagged for safety concerns last month.