China is considering Italian shoe sector claims that its footwear exports contain toxic chemicals that might pose a threat to humans.

The Italian Health Ministry has begun random checks of imports to test for potentially dangerous chemicals after Italian footwear association ANCI said it found high levels of substances such as nickel and azo dye in Chinese footwear imports.

Italy's health minister Francesco Storace said China's shoe makers are guilty of breaking European consumer safety regulations.

He said that investigations into imports would continue for six months, and that results of tests will be revealed each month.