SEOUL, May 14 (Korea Bizwire) – With the latest controversy over the humidifier sterilizer scandal, consumers are become more anxious regarding daily products that contain chemicals. Fear and suspicion over chemical content are causing an overall decline in purchases of these products.
Experts advise that the widespread fear over general daily products is unnecessary, and that consumers only need to take proper precautions when using products such as sterilizers or insecticide.
Still, the controversy has brought about an overall decline in sales of chemical-containing products, such as bleaches, dehumidifying agents, and air fresheners. As the look for alternatives, more consumers are now seeking environment-friendly products.
Lotte Mart noted that sales of bleach products decreased by 22.6 percent from April 18 to May 3 compared to the same period last year. Sales of deodorants and air fresheners also decreased by 16.8 and 15 percent, respectively. The same applied to laundry softeners (14.3 percent decrease) and dehumidifying agents (4.6 percent decrease).
Emart also reported that sales of bleaches and dehumidifying agents decreased by 38 and 44 percent, respectively, from April 18 to May 11. Sales of laundry detergents (19 percent), insecticides (7 percent), laundry softeners (15 percent), deodorants (18 percent), and air fresheners (19 percent) also decreased.
Online shopping malls also suffered from declining demand.
Online portal Auction saw decreases in sales of air fresheners (8 percent), insecticides (5 percent), humidifying agents (7 percent), and deodorants (32 percent).
Environmentally friendly products, on the contrary, showed increasing sales.
Sales of baking soda increased by 26 percent while kitchen and laundry detergents that use natural ingredients increased by more than 30 percent.
“I feel like I should be more cautious in using chemical products. I’m worried that they might cause negative health effects,” said an unnamed shopper.
Experts say that the government and manufacturers should try harder to assuage the public’s fear. And because chemical-containing products are necessities in many situations, there’s a need for campaigns to encourage the public to use the products in a responsible way.
Some experts, however, are pushing for a stricter system that evaluates products containing harmful elements and establishes clear safety criteria.
“It’s hard to say that all products are thoroughly checked and monitored for safety. The only way to calm consumers is to implement procedures that guarantee the safety of using such products,” said an industry official.
The Ministry of Environment is considering various options to evaluate the safety of concerned products. It plans to weed out products that are proven to be dangerous, and start issuing safety certificates to new products that pass the certification process.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)