Korea Times

Lotte at odds with South Korean environmental activists

Demand to list all chemical ingredients pushes on following the toxic humidifier steriliser scandal that gripped South Korea earlier this year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 11:06am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 11:12am

By Park Jae-hyuk

Lotte Shopping posted the list of ingredients in its private brand chemical products on the Lotte Mart official website, Tuesday.

The retailer had initially refused the request from the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements (KFEM) on Nov. 9 which asked the 12 firms responsible for the toxic humidifier steriliser scandal to disclose the ingredients in their chemical products.

However, Lotte decided to reveal the ingredients just before the environmental civic group’s press conference scheduled for the same day, saying there had been some misunderstanding between the two.

Last week, the company had replied to KFEM in a statement: “We already submitted the whole list of ingredients of our chemical products to the Ministry of Environment in June, so you should ask the ministry for the data.”

Despite Lotte’s disclosure, KFEM did not cancel the scheduled press conference in front of Lotte Mart Seoul Station Branch, downtown Seoul.

“Because of the humidifier steriliser manufactured and sold by Lotte, 22 people died and 66 suffered injuries,” said Choi Ye-yong, secretary general of the Asian Citizen’s Center for Environment and Health. “As well as its private brand chemical products, Lotte Shopping must reveal the ingredients in all the chemical products sold at its stores.”

Jung Mi-ran of KFEM said: “KFEM sent official documents again to the firms that still have not responded. We will conduct campaigns, hold press conferences and visit the firms to protest, until they reveal the ingredients of their products.”

She also said that KFEM will demand the government and the National Assembly to legislate laws enforcing companies to disclose all the ingredients in their chemical products.

After the press conference, KFEM collected citizens’ signatures to demand that the government pass a special law to punish the responsible firms and compensate victims of sterilisers.

According to KFEM, six firms - Aekyung, Daiso-Asung, Henkel Homecare Korea, Lotte Shopping, Sandokkaebi and Clannad - decided to disclose the chemical ingredients of their products, while Home Care declined.

Another five firms -Home Plus, E-mart, Costco Korea, General Bio and GS Retail - have not answered as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Oxy Reckitt Benckiser Korea revealed the ingredients of the product on its website this month, even before the KFEM’s request.