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Supermarkets slammed for promoting Oxy products

Local distributors Homeplus and Lotte Mart came under fire over the weekend for promoting Oxy Reckitt Benckiser products as a boycott against the company continues to spread amid the ongoing probe into its toxic humidifier disinfectant.

The supermarket chains reportedly promoted sales of household items including Oxy’s stain remover OxiClean, toilet-cleaning gel Easy Off Bang, fabric softener Cherie, closet repellent Thirsty Hippo and more. Their sales promotion included buy-one-get-one-free events and discounts.
Yonhap
Yonhap
The distributors explained that the event was simply part of regular sales promotion held each season, adding that they would withdraw all Oxy products from the list.

“The sales promotion was planned three months in advance and it was practically difficult to exclude Oxy’s products. But we admit that our actions were not thoughtful enough,” an official from Lotte Mart was quoted as saying.

Lotte Mart, one of the toxic humidifier disinfectant makers and distributors, is blamed for the loss of 22 lives who used its in-house brand Wislect’s humidifier disinfectant.

A boycott backed by the civic group Asian Citizen’s Center for Environment and Health has so far been targeting Oxy, which is allegedly responsible for 103 out of the 143 deaths recognized by the authorities as being caused by the humidifier sterilizers.

Oxy sells more than 120 household items and five medicine products here.

Amid widening investigation into the toxic humidifier disinfectant tragedy, the Environment Ministry vowed Saturday to find a correlation between the use of toxic disinfectant and other health symptoms in addition to lung-related diseases.

The ministry also said it will soon invite experts and analysts to establish new standards for the compensation of damages to victims.

A total of 13 manufacturers and distributors are involved in a lawsuit filed by the victims and their families, while four are currently under investigation by the prosecution.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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