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Borny floor mats may harm children’s skin

Nov 25,2017
Borny Korea’s children floor mats were found to have two types of chemical preservatives that could cause skin problems, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATA) announced on Friday, after the government has already recalled all suspected Borny products since allegations of health hazards surfaced in June.

“The products in question contained preservatives that could cause skin allergies,” said KATA, which runs under the industry ministry. “It appears that the leakage of such products in the form of white powder caused skin irritation.”

The state-run body said it found 10 milligrams of methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and 2 milligrams of benzisothiazolinone (BIT) per kilogram, which is at the level that can cause skin problems for children under the age of two.

KATA found that of 396 children surveyed, who were about 12.5 months old on average, 232 reported health issues after using the used Borny floor mats and 71, or 17.9 percent, reported skin-related ailments.

For children under 12 months, 20.2 percent reported skin-related ailments.

Considering that 11.9 percent of infants under 12 months were diagnosed with irritant contact dermatitis in 2015, according to government data, KATA estimated there could be a strong correlation between Borny products and contact dermatitis.

The agency, however, did not find the floor mats responsible for causing respiratory ailments, though it did not entirely rule out the possibility.

It said it will continue to look into the matter.

“The issue is not that tested products contained BIT and MIT as preservatives,” Oh Yoo-chun, director of product safety at KATA, told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

“The problem is that they were exposed in the form of white powder that caused skin problems.”

Oh added, “We advised the company to take action to stop such exposure.”

Oh also said that if Borny does not comply, the product recall will be renewed.


BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]