SEJONG, Nov. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – The government set out a series of countermeasures Tuesday against increasing concerns over goods containing chemical substances, which included an investigation of all everyday use chemical products.
“We have had growing public unease with everyday use products that contain chemicals, from incidents like the toxic humidifier sterilizer case,” said Ministry of Environment vice-minister Lee Chung-seop. “Related government bodies have been working together closely to come up with the new set of measures.”
The plan is divided into four major sections: investigating chemical products currently in distribution, reforming maintenance procedures for chemical products, establishing a rigorous product supervision system, and expanding corporate responsibilities.
The investigation of the products will continue until June 2017, focusing on evaluating their toxicity, and including all products with potential health threats. The government will disclose the list of all items investigated, including possible health risks, and articles found highly hazardous will be subject to an immediate ban.
Goods that fail to abide by safety labelling standards will also be expelled, officials said, while the government will reinforce its monitoring of sanitary products such as toothpaste, and cosmetics as well.
Biocides, including disinfectants, pesticides, and preservatives, must only use officially approved chemicals, and their manufacturers will be required to submit all documents regarding the product’s safety, effects, and labelled information for review and sales permission.
The same will apply to other chemical products such as antibacterial filters (i.e. for air conditioners), detergents, air fresheners, and deodorants, in that they can only contain government-approved biocide substances, and must be affixed with a label listing the names of the substances included.
Deceitful advertising phrases such as “non-toxic” or “environmentally friendly” will be prohibited.
Furthermore, the government will revise its law on the registration and evaluation of chemical substances, and expand the number of restricted and banned components from the current 72 to 1,300. It will continue investigating chemical substances disclosed by overseas organizations, to keep high-risk chemicals under strict control.
Meanwhile, corporate responsibility will increase, with mandatory submission of data listing all components in potentially hazardous products. Companies will have to break down the levels of health warning on their products into “danger”, “warning”, and “caution” with specific risks (i.e. corrosive, eye irritation) also indicated.
The government plans to sign a voluntary safety control agreement with chemical product manufacturers here to better monitor consumer protection, and establish a more rigorous safety maintenance system to which a majority of companies, including P&G Korea and LG Household & Health Care, expressed their will to participate.
“We’ll continue our cooperation with other ministries and related bodies to make sure the new measures are successfully carried forward,” said vice-minister Lee.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)