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  • Smelly Chinese Plastics

    In the last five months alone, I've bought three items made of plastic or hard rubber that had such strong odors that I had to throw them out. All of the items were made in China. This seems to be a new ( to me) problem with Chinese products; their rubber and plastics compounding can be improper, and result in excessive odors. The first item was a five outlet electrical strip, which was packed inside a box that contained the odor until I unpacked it. The second item was a four wheel furniture dolly. The wheels were a hard rubber, and smelled terribly. ( I have more of those dollys, but none of the others smells.) The third item was an emergency power light, made of hard white plastic. I allowed all items to air out for at least a month, but it made no difference. The only plastic or rubber items made in the USA that I've ever owned that smelled badly were clear flexible organizers for nutdrivers and chisels, which I believe were so full of plasticizer that they never stop smelling. Now, part of my product evaluation before I buy has become determining if it has a bad odor. So, if you see some odd guy in a store sniffing the wheels on a furniture dolly, it's probably just me.

  • #2
    Definitely a Problem

    My better half bought a mat to catch some of the dirt getting tracked in by our patio door. It had a noticeable odor at first. After a couple of days we moved it to scrub the floor, and there on the three year old flooring was a discolored pattern matching the design if the mat. Needless to say it went out in the trash, but the discoloration keeps getting darker. We are not at all pleased.

    -Mike

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    • #3
      Chinese rubber products do smell..... very strongly.

      But older US-made plastics , often whatever was used as screwdriver handles, can stink worse. They not only stink, they become brittle.

      I think they must have some type of mercaptan as a breakdown product, because they tend to smell like vomit.
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

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      • #4
        I had never been into a Harbor Freight store before untill I spotted one in Eugene Oregon a couple years ago. I was all excited and made a turn around the block and found a place to park and entered the store. The smell that hit me was more than I could stand. After about 10 min. in there, I had to leave. The smell of Chinese rubber and plastics is like going to garbage dump.
        Mel
        _____________________________________________

        I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by J Tiers
          Chinese rubber products do smell..... very strongly.
          It's because Chinese plastic is made from a witch's brew of melamine and lead
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by J Tiers
            Chinese rubber products do smell..... very strongly.

            But older US-made plastics , often whatever was used as screwdriver handles, can stink worse. They not only stink, they become brittle.

            I think they must have some type of mercaptan as a breakdown product, because they tend to smell like vomit.

            Yessir. Those plastic handles can stink big time and it's darn hard to get the smell out of old toolboxes. After trying the cursory bleach, baking soda, etc. I finally settled on just letting it sit outside in the sun for about a week. That made a difference.

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            • #7
              I've always thought that the Plano tackle and tool boxes smell horrible inside. I suspect most of the plastic odors are not real good for you, When I worked as a mold maker in a relay plant we were right by the mold room and I used to get nose bleeds all the time got a different job and they went away.

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              • #8
                Sniffing

                Originally posted by Bill736
                In the last five months alone, I've bought three items made of plastic or hard rubber that had such strong odors that I had to throw them out. All of the items were made in China. This seems to be a new ( to me) problem with Chinese products; their rubber and plastics compounding can be improper, and result in excessive odors. The first item was a five outlet electrical strip, which was packed inside a box that contained the odor until I unpacked it. The second item was a four wheel furniture dolly. The wheels were a hard rubber, and smelled terribly. ( I have more of those dollys, but none of the others smells.) The third item was an emergency power light, made of hard white plastic. I allowed all items to air out for at least a month, but it made no difference. The only plastic or rubber items made in the USA that I've ever owned that smelled badly were clear flexible organizers for nutdrivers and chisels, which I believe were so full of plasticizer that they never stop smelling. Now, part of my product evaluation before I buy has become determining if it has a bad odor. So, if you see some odd guy in a store sniffing the wheels on a furniture dolly, it's probably just me.
                I'd be more concerned if it were me and I got caught sniffing the seats on the furniture that the "dolly" sat on.

                We recently had a politician here in OZ lose his job because he got caught sniffing chairs that women sat on and another that got caught sniffing ladies bicycle seats.

                Jeez, I'm sure glad I'm careful - or very lucky - as I haven't been caught yet - but I'm no politician either.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fasttrack
                  Yessir. Those plastic handles can stink big time and it's darn hard to get the smell out of old toolboxes. After trying the cursory bleach, baking soda, etc. I finally settled on just letting it sit outside in the sun for about a week. That made a difference.
                  Well I was going to comment on the same thing but you beat me to it.
                  I have some hand tools, screw drivers etc. going back into the mid 70's US made and they do stink. Every time I open up that drawer it smells like crap. I'll try sun drying them.

                  JL.................

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                  • #10
                    Had to return a Mr. Coffee maker a couple of years ago. Couldn't get the stink out of it. Tried water, vinegar, cleaner. Still had a plastic smell. The newer ones seem to be better.

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                    • #11
                      Drying is what causes the handles to stink. I wipe mine down with lacquer thinner to melt off the top layer of plastic. You loose the blue or red highlights but they stop smelling for a couple of years.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CCWKen
                        Drying is what causes the handles to stink. I wipe mine down with lacquer thinner to melt off the top layer of plastic. You loose the blue or red highlights but they stop smelling for a couple of years.

                        Ahh ... makes sense. I'll keep that in mind.

                        JoeLee - just to clarify, I couldn't get the stink out of empty metal tool boxes . So I let those sit out in the sun. I tossed the screw drivers. I didn't need them and I didn't want them stinking up everything else...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by J Tiers
                          Chinese rubber products do smell..... very strongly.

                          But older US-made plastics , often whatever was used as screwdriver handles, can stink worse. They not only stink, they become brittle.

                          I think they must have some type of mercaptan as a breakdown product, because they tend to smell like vomit.
                          Actually, those handles are made of cellulose butyrate; it releases butyric acid as it ages.... same smell as rancid butter, btw.

                          Xcelite screwdriver handles do this a lot.

                          - Bart
                          Bart Smaalders
                          http://smaalders.net/barts

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                          • #14
                            I don't understand people throwing away something they buy that ends up being unusable because it smells terrible, doesn't work as advertised, or other valid reasons. I always get my money back when what's wrong isn't my fault and wasn't obvious when I made the purchase.
                            Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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                            • #15
                              Years ago when Miller first set up their forums I signed up. Later on they sent free tape measures to the first thousand or so that signed up. Made you know where. Actually felt OK quality.

                              Oddest damn plastic I have ever seen though. The thing secreted oil, or something like it. At first I though I had gotten oil on it the last time I used it. Wiped it off and went to use it a few weeks later and there it was again. Wiped it off again and it came back. I think I eventually threw the thing away. Either that or it oozed away to some part of the shop!

                              Speaking of chinese plastics, whats up with that god awful orange? And what exactly is it that makes the chinese stuff just look plain cheap? I have not quite pinned it down. Maybe the surface texture?

                              I have lots of Xcelite tools. Never had the problems with them as above. I love them compared to kliens for nut drivers.

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