If you live in a hot climate, or are planning a winter vacation in the sun, think twice before stocking up on flip-flops at Walmart.
Simple, inexpensive ($2.44) shoes for the beach would seem to have mass appeal. Unfortunately, what they have caused is mass peeling because of an as yet unidentified chemical reaction between human skin (maybe sun screen?) and the chemical composition of the sandal. The area of irritation on the tops of the feet, which you can view in the pictures below, corresponds exactly to the thong portion of the plastic sandal. Clearly the chemical burns are linked to wearing the sandals.
Since September of this year, Walmart has reportedly sold “over a million” of these colorful plastic
Sand ‘N Sun sandals, which has been supposedly now recalled because they have burned the skin (first and second degree burns) on the feet of at least a dozen consumers. The flip-flops were made in China.
One shopper recently reported that she presented the sandals at a Midwest location Walmart check-out register and the scanner didn’t recognize the code because the flip-flops had been recalled. Nevertheless, the helpful cashier over-rode the blocked sale, and one more pair of nasty Chinese sandals went home with an unsuspecting consumer. Why are these plastic sandals still even in the stores?
A Walmart representative, when questioned about this fiasco, asserted that “consumer safety is our utmost concern.” However, there has already been a major flap this year about Chinese-made Walmart goods: not only the date-rape drug in children’s beading kits, but also toys painted with lead-laced dyes.
This is not an urban legend. Snopes has verified this report: (http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/flipflop.asp)
To view some of the feet that have been burned, here is a website that was launched in September, and which has received over 140 emails and photos from Walmart consumers similarly burned (http://www.lamanaphotography.com/walmart6.htm)
This website was launched in September by Kerry Stiles of Ocklawaha, Florida, in order to “help Walmart keep track of folks injured by their sandals.” Walmart has asserted that it will test the flip-flops to try to determine what chemicals are responsible for the caustic irritation. As yet, no results of such testing have been publicly announced. Meanwhile, Ms. Stiles says she is mounting a class-action suit against Walmart. She claims that her own feet are still “raw and tender” two full months after wearing the Sand ‘N Sun sandals twice, each time for only 10 minutes.