In July 2007, Kerry Stiles, a woman from Florida documented her bad experience of chemical burns on her feet after wearing a pair of the Sand-N-Sun cheap flip flops (made in China) she bought from Wal-Mart. She put up the detailed record of her ordeal online after she was not satisfied with Wal-Mart’s response to her complaint.
Kerry Stiles’ report followed numerous reader complaints of similar incidents, and in September 2007 it was reported that Wal-Mart stores across the country are pulling off flip-flops made in China after customers complained of rashes or burns developed on their feet. In September 2007 FoxNews.com reported that the issue is not with everyone who wears those flip flops from China; out of millions sold, there were some cases reported.
Dr. Nanette Silverberg, the director of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York explained that the burning sensation is most likely because of allergies to the rubber on the shoes or to the chemical components like Thiuram and Dithiocarbamates that are used to break down the rubber in the shoes. The doctor said it is unlikely that it’s the chemical coating that’s extremely toxic, and the reason for burns or rashes could be due to allergic contact dermatitis that happens in some people who will notice a reaction within a couple of hours.
After pulling off from their stores, Wal-Mart also planned to test the Sand-N-Sun flip-flops to find out more about the causes of the chemical burns and continue to sell the line of shoes later.