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Gov't deserves criticism for irresponsibility for hygienic pads

Gov't deserves criticism for irresponsibility for hygienic pads

Posted September. 06, 2017 08:52,   

Updated September. 06, 2017 10:15


The Food and Drug Safety Ministry on Monday announced the names of 10 hygienic pad products that Ecofem, a female environmentalists’ association, claimed harmful substance had been discovered. Originally, the products whose names were publicized among the products in which VOCs had been detected as surveyed by Ecofem were "Klean Nara" and "Lilian," but harmful materials are found to have been detected in brandname products including Yuhan Kimberly, P&G and LG Unicham. The products from Yuhan Kimberly, No. 1 supplier in the category, are found to contain the largest amount of Grade 1 and 2 carcinogens as labeled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.   

It is irresponsible for the Food and Drug Safety Ministry’s hygienic pad validation committee to state that consumers can wait until the findings from the ministry’s probe are announced rather than overly worrying about safety by just saying that “i is impossible to determine whether the products are harmful or not only based on the outcome of Ecofem’s tests,” while making a such shocking announcement. Unifem sent to the ministry the outcome of an analysis conducted by Gangwon University professor Kang Man-gu at its request to test hygienic pad products, and raised issue over the safety of those products in March. So many consumer complaints and appeals suggesting that they developed abnormal health conditions after using Lilian products were made from last month that even a collective action lawsuit is being pursued. Even so, the ministry turned a blind eye, before announcing the outcome of analysis conducted by Ecofem in a surprise move when the public opinion deteriorated, and saying that the findings cannot be trusted scientifically. The Food and Drug Safety Ministry is a state body that is responsible for safety of sanitary aid products. If the ministry does not trust the credibility of information, it should not publicize it, and if it chooses to announce, it should take responsibility accordingly as a state agency. 

Ecofem urged Tuesday the government to conduct tests on all hygienic pad products on the market, saying that not only VOCs but also dioxin purine substance can be detected in hygienic pads. If such highly toxic materials are detected in hygienic pad products, it can be a more serious problem than VOCs. The ministry should promptly announce the outcome of its probe on what substances are being detected in hygienic pads and how they affect the human body. The ministry should also investigate the suspicion that Ecofem raised issue with a rival company’s product due to its special relationship with Yuhan Kimberly.

When a stir over eggs contaminated with insecticide erupted, the ministry said it would be safe for an adult to consume 126 contaminated eggs daily. The ministry tried to inform the public that people do not need to feel anxious only due to the detection of insecticide, saying that the insecticide substance and the harmful effect of the substance in question on the human body are different matters. But now the ministry has applied a different standard on hygienic pad products, which reveals its lack of consistency. Food and Drug Safety Minister Ryu Young-jin might have thought that disclosing the outcome of a survey conducted by a private organization would constitute practice of transparent public administration, but he should remember that such act will not cover the incompetence of his ministry.