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  1. I found this article on Shanghai Daily, but it seems the link is not longer working so I posted here. NEARLY a third of yoga mats tested by the city’s quality watchdog were found to contain excessive plasticizer — a substance, typically a solvent, added to a synthetic resin to produce or promote flexibility and to reduce brittleness. All the mats tested had emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), a major contributor to air pollution that also can cause harm to people’s health, authorities warned yesterday. The Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau tested 30 batches of yoga mats bought online as well as from actual stores and found nine batches had excessive phthalates, which can cause such effects as decrease of sperm, testicular cancer, liver and kidney damage, and increase the risk of breast cancer. All of the 30 batches of yoga mats had VOC emission, according to the bureau. People were likely to suffer from headache, vomiting, weakness, and convulsions when the concentration of VOC reaches a high level indoors, and the liver, kidney, brain and nervous system could also be harmed, doctors warned. China has no specific standards set for yoga mats, and the inspection results were based on American standards and other relevant standards in China, according to the bureau, which did not reveal who had produced the tested yoga mats. The bureau said it had forwarded the result to China’s top quality watchdog for consideration of setting a standard. “Many people use yoga mats as camping mats or for children to play, and most businesses claimed their yoga mats are totally safe and eco-friendly, which misleads consumers,” said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the bureau. “Yoga mats are not suitable to be used by children,” he said, adding people should put newly bought yoga mats in areas of good ventilation for several days before use. The bureau has ordered yoga mat producers and outlets selling them to improve quality control and eliminate safety hazards.