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Gov’t to restrict radon products

Ads saying radioactive material is good for body will be banned
Nov 23,2018
Materials that emit radioactivity will be banned from use in products that make direct contact with humans, including mattresses, pillow and sanitation pads.

Additionally, companies will no longer be allowed to claim in advertisements that products which contain radioactive materials have health benefits.

On Thursday, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission announced that it will reform related legislation to step up monitoring of materials such as monazite. The materials will be closely tracked from import to manufacturing and distribution.

In a statement, the commission said that while it has been continuously disposing of products reported by consumers, there was a need for reforms that tackle the fundamental problem. It said it has been working with other government departments including the Prime Minister’s office, the Environment Ministry, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Custom Service since May when the issue of radioactive products became a national concern.

Mattresses that contained monazite, a rare earth resource mostly found at the seaside that contains uranium and thorium, were discovered earlier this year, resulting in massive recalls. Uranium and thorium produce radon, a gas that is harmful to humans, over the course of radioactive decay.

Under existing regulations, the person importing or selling the monazite only needs to register with the government. Once the regulations are changed, those that manufacture and sell products that contain the radioactive material also need to report to the government.

The distribution of the radioactive raw material will only be permitted if companies have registered with the government.

The commission, however, said the use of such material on any products that makes close contact with humans will be completely banned since even the smallest use could increase health risks. The manufacturing and import of such products will be forbidden.

Under current regulations, the government permitted the use of such materials as long as they did not exceed the government safety standard of 1 millisievert.

Any advertisement that the negative ions emitted from these materials are good for the body or good for the environment will not be allowed.

The commission is planning to reform the related legislation by the end of this year. It will go into effect in the second half of next year.

The government is also expanding the workforce that monitors and inspects radioactivity-emitting products.

A new system will allow concerned people to request that a trained agent with radioactivity detecting tools visit their home to check for unsafe levels of radiation.

Starting next month, 1,000 agents will begin making visits to inspect products purchased overseas.

Products purchased online are typically not inspected by the government.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]