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Gov't to conduct full-scale probe into biocides

South Korea's government said Tuesday it will conduct a nationwide investigation into all biocides circulated in the country amid growing public outcry against the South Korean unit of the British consumer product firm Oxy Reckitt Benckiser.
  
Oxy is currently being probed by state prosecutors over its toxic humidifier sterilizers that have been cited for causing many deaths and illnesses.
  
The Ministry of Environment said it will establish a formal management system to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
  
The announcement came a day after Ata Safdar, CEO of Oxy Korea, apologized for selling the deadly sterilizers and proposed that other makers of similar products, namely discount chains Lotte Mart and Homeplus, work with the company on joint compensation.
  
Authorities said it plans to list all the biocides in the country and assess their health risk. The plan also includes adopting a license system for biocide products.
  
Oxy started selling its products in Korea in 2001, followed by local companies.
  
It wasn't until 2011 that the products were taken off the shelves after mysterious deaths from lung complications were linked to the sterilizers.
  
South Korean government confirmed 221 people as victims. Among them, 177 had used Oxy products. Out of 90 deaths, 70 are believed to have been from using Oxy products. Civic groups say the extent of the harm is much larger.
  
The government said it decided to hurry an investigation and approval process on another group of victims who said they were hurt by the toxic humidifier sterilizers. (Yonhap)

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