[Exclusive] British RB Aware of Toxicity of Humidifier Sterilizer Since 2012

Write : 2016-08-31 09:20:20 Update : 2016-08-31 14:41:54

[Exclusive] British RB Aware of Toxicity of Humidifier Sterilizer Since 2012

Anchor: In an exclusive report by KBS, Reckitt Benckiser appears to have been aware of the toxicity of its humidifier sterilizers four years ago. But the company only admitted its responsibilities in May 2016, about four years after a CDC report blamed its and other companies' sterilizers for lung problems and related deaths. KBS has obtained results of a product safety test which the British consumer chemical product manufacturer commissioned to an American research agency.
Kim Bum-soo has more. 

Report: In its 2012 report provided to Reckitt Benckiser, WIL Research reported about its animal tests of polyhexamethylene guanidine(PHMG), the chemical substance contained in the company's deadly humidifier disinfectant products.

In the report exclusively obtained by KBS, the American researcher carried out its test on 30 mice in ten groups. 

It found lab mice exposed to low density PHMG displayed symptoms of necrosis, or a form of cell injury resulting in the premature death of cells in living tissue.

Animals tested with higher density PHMG showed necrosis in the liver. All ten mice died after being exposed to the highest-level of the substance. Some also displayed cell deaths in the stomach and intestines.

Seoul National University Pharmacy Professor Chung Jin-Ho says similar results can be expected with humans.

[Sound bite: Prof.  Chung Jin-Ho - College of Pharmacy, Seoul Nat'l Univ. (Korean)]
"As necrosis took place in the stomach and small intestine, it's very similar to the liver and lung. [The test] is set at the same concentration level for humans."

The tests were conducted a few months after the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that humidifier sterilizers were to blame for the lethal unidentified lung problems.

Minjoo Party of Korea Rep. Woo Won-sik, who is leading the special parliamentary committee looking into the humidifier sterilizer scandal, says Reckitt Benckiser was aware of the problems with its products.  But the company only admitted its responsibilities in May 2016, about four years after the CDC report was released. 

[Sound bite: Rep. Woo Won-sik - Chairman, special committee on humidifier sterilizer scandal (Korean)]
"Commissioning an international research is not a response by the South Korean branch office. This is the RB headquarters response from the U.K."

The British consumer chemical product manufacturer commissioned similar tests with four other researchers in the U.S. and India.  

The report by WIL Research shows that the tests were commissioned by Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC. 

The British headquarters of Reckitt Benckiser avoided answering inquiries about the PHMG safety test.

In the first two rounds of investigations by the South Korean government, a total of 221 victims were confirmed since sterilizers from various companies made headlines in 2011. Among them 95 died and the majority were said to have used RB Korea's products.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News. 

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