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South Korea - Patients reportedly with "mysterious" respiratory illness - 28 fatalities reported - exposure to toxic humidifier chemicals confirmed

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    Reckitt Benckiser Apologizes

    British consumer goods company has apologized and accepted responsibility for disinfectants that killed or injured hundreds.

    May 2, 2016, at 5:37 a.m.

    By YOUKYUNG LEE, AP Business Writer
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP)

    Ataur Safdar, head of the company's Korean division, said the company accepted responsibility and wanted to make amends. He spoke at a news conference, where he was interrupted by angry and tearful victims and family members who cursed and hit him.

    A teenager with a big, green oxygen tank, and four other people who were apparently victims or their families, walked to the stage to confront Safdar.
    "Can you save the child? What are you going to do?" said a woman, in a scene broadcast live on television. "Why did it take so long?" a man said.

    The health risks from the disinfectants came to attention in 2011 with mysterious lung ailments that killed pregnant women. Later that year, authorities said the chemicals PHMG and PGH in the disinfectants that many South Korean households used to cleanse humidifiers were to blame.
    ... Civic groups said the government tally understates the number of victims. They estimate that the disinfectants killed 239 and injured 1,289. Officials are investigating and expect more applications for compensation.
    Reckitt Benckiser sold millions of bottles of liquid disinfectant, called Oxy Ssak Ssak, containing the harmful chemicals for about a decade and was blamed for 100 deaths...
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    • Former CEO of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser arrested

      By Park Si-soo

      A former CEO of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser and two former senior researchers of the company were arrested Saturday for their alleged lack of responsibility for toxic test for chemicals used in the firm's mass-produced humidifier sterilizers that caused the deaths of some 104 people, including pregnant women, since 2011.