Humidifier Disinfectant Incident (Kyunghyang)

[Humidifier Disinfectant Incident] Victims, “We Can’t Accept an Apology Just for Show. Leave Korea, Oxy!“

ㆍOxy Officially Apologizes for Humidifier Sterilizer Scandal after Five Years

“What’s the Use?” Atar Safdal, head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser Korea bows and apologizes to the families of the victims of their humidifier sterilizer during a press conference at the Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul on the morning of May 2. Yi Jun-heon

Oxy Reckitt Benckiser, whose humidifier sterilizers caused harm to the most number of victims, officially apologized five years after the incident first broke out. They explained that the apology was delayed because they tried to provide sufficient compensation measures, but they failed to present any specific plans to compensate the victims. The company will have a hard time avoiding criticism that their latest apology was rushed to resolve the situation as prosecutors launch an investigation into the incident and more and more consumers join in a boycott of their products.

Atar Safdal, head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser Korea (currently, RB Korea) held a press conference at the Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul on May 2 and said, “We bow our heads and apologize to all the victims and their families who suffered lung damage due to the humidifier sterilizer. We fully realize our responsibility in failing to promptly provide appropriate measures.” According to the prosecutors, 177 people including 70 dead suffered damages from using an Oxy product. From 2004 to 2010, over 2.2 million Oxy humidifier sterilizers were sold.

Safdal said, “We will gather a panel of experts by July and provide a compensation package to those who used Oxy products among the victims classified as level 1 and 2 victims. We hope that the 10 billion won we have already provided will be used to help other people who suffered from the humidifier sterilizers.” As for the scale of the compensation, he only stated the basic position, “We will decide after gathering the panel and discussing with the victims.”

It appeared that the company was also trying to dismiss the allegations that the company tried to conceal evidence as an employee’s mistake. Safdal said, “Our company has a code of conduct that all employees must comply with. If misconduct is confirmed, we will immediately take corrective action.” When a reporter asked if this apology was from the headquarters in the United Kingdom, Safdal said, “You can think of it as representing both the Korean branch and the British headquarters. The CEO of the head office in Britain asked me to apologize on behalf of him and headquarters will support us when we provide the compensation package.”

At the press conference this day, about a dozen victims and their families including a ten-year-old boy who has to live with the help of an oxygen tank due to injuries suffered from the humidifier sterilizer were present. Some families approached the stage and strongly protested, “You wouldn’t see us for five years. This apology is just for show because the prosecutors have launched an investigation.” They told the company, “Voluntarily withdraw from the Republic of Korea” and claimed, “We want a sincere apology, not one just for show.”

#Korea #Humidifier_disinfectant #toxicity #Oxy