Sanitary pads and diapers contain safe level of chemicals: state watchdog

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2017-09-28 14:19 Updated : 2017-09-28 14:19
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[The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety]

Sanitary pads and diapers sold in South Korea are all safe and contain a very low level of toxic chemicals that pose no threat to the health of women and babies, a state watchdog said after a survey involving state and civilian experts.

The survey was launched in August when Klean Nara, a popular producer of hygienic products, recalled sanitary napkins on complaints about negative side effects caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which like benzene and formaldehyde are organic chemicals that easily become vapors or gases. While not all VOCs are hazardous, a few can pose long-term health risks.

The recall sparked a widespread health scare, and thousands of women have filed a class-action suit, based on a study by some civilian experts that Klean Nara products contained unusually high VOC contents.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety released the outcome of its first investigation into 666 imported or home-made sanitary products and ten diaper brands.

The investigation was done in a scientific and transparent way, the watchdog said, adding all sanitary pads and diapers checked were found to have contained a "very low" level of VOCs and met international standards.

"I feel sorry for causing public anxiety due to the controversy about harmful ingredients in sanitary napkins," Minister Ryu Young-jin said, promising to launch an additional investigation of all sanitary products for women.