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No.526 2007.10.19 Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations / Korean Federation of Housewives Club
Regular survey of daily necessities: Daegu has the greatest number of highest priced products in the country. / Excessive amount of endocrine disruptor (phthalate group) detected in antiskid socks for infants, Consumers need to check for the KPS (Korea Product Safety) Mark when choosing products

Press Release No. 526, Issued on 19 Oct. 2007

Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations

Regular survey of daily necessities: Daegu has the greatest number of highest priced products in the country.

According to a survey conducted in September of the prices of 37 daily necessities, the rise in the price of white cabbage (51.7%) was the most marked, followed by spinach (23.1%), radish (10.5%), lettuce (13.5%), mackerel (4.5%) and diapers (2.4%). On the other hand, the prices of sesame oil (-3.2%) and cooking oil (-2.3%) have decreased. Overall prices in the Seoul area have risen by 1.2% compared to the previous month.

Following August, the prices of agricultural and dairy products rose considerably in September (9.0% rise from the previous month). According to the September edition of Farming and Vegetables, shipments were not made in time due to frequent rain and the amount of shipping decreased as a result of the bad harvest and the low temperature. In September the average prices for seasonal fruits such as apples and pears were 2,004 won and 2,600 won respectively. In comparison, the prices of industrial products rose only a little (0.7% rise from the previous month).
Nationwide, the sum of the average prices of 37 products was highest in Suwon (200,405 won) and lowest in Wonju (182,008 won).

Daegu has the greatest number of high priced products in the country with 6 items (spinach, pears, laver, tinned tuna, synthetic detergent and tissues) from the range of 37 items. The region with the greatest number of low priced products in Korea was Chuncheon with 8 items (radish, fruit juice, soju, wheat flour, sesame oil, red pepper paste, synthetic detergent and diapers). The table below shows the regions with the highest and lowest prices for items in Korea.  

『Regions with the highest and lowest prices in the country』

 

The highest priced items nationally

The lowest priced items nationally

Seoul

4: Watermelon bottled water, soju, beer

-

Busan

3: Soybean curd, powered milk, Choco Pie

2: Chicken, sugar

Incheon

1: Pork

2: Ham, milk

Ulsan

5: Lettuce, melon, ham, milk, yogurt

 

Suwon

 

3: Melon, ramyon, yogurt

Goyang

4: Rice, radish, dried  anchovies, cooking oil

3: Beer, canned  tuna, flour

Chuncheon

 

5: Sea weed, soju, sesame oil, hot pepper paste, detergent

Wonju

3: Coffee, flour, tissue

1: Powdered milk

Cheongju

 

1: Soybean curd

Daejeon

3: Imported beef, detergent

1: Rice

Jeonju

1: Juice

3: Watermelon, mackerel, diapers

Gwangju

3: Sea weed, sesame oil, hot pepper paste

 

Daegu

5: Spinach, mackerel, egg, canned tuna, toothpaste

3: Juice, coffee, Korean beef

Changwon

1: Korean beef

2: Dried anchovy, soju

Jinju

1: Chinese cabbage

4: Lettuce, Hot pepper paste, toothpaste, tissue

Jeju

3: Chicken, flour, diaper

7: Chinese cabbage,  spinach, radish, pork, imported beef, sea weed, Choco Pie

▶ Contact for inquiry (person in charge): Mgr. Eun-ji Lee (02-774-4050)


 
Korean Federation of Housewives Club

Excessive amount of endocrine disruptor (phthalate group) detected in antiskid socks for infants

Consumers need to check for the KPS (Korea Product Safety) Mark when choosing products

On August 28, the Korean Federation of Housewives’ Club (Chairperson: Kim Cheon-ju) examined 6 brands of antiskid socks (3 famous brands and 3 products from small manufacturers) for infants aged under 24 months and found phthalate, a kind of endocrine disruptor, in all of them. A very famous brand was included among the products.

Phthalate, a chemical plasticizer that is often added to a product in order to soften hard plastics, has been designated as an endocrine disruptor in Korea and is currently being controlled. The socks were inspected because they are mainly worn by infants under 24 months of age. The socks have soft rubber on the bottom to prevent infants from slipping on slippery floors before they are able to walk. The problem is that many of the products for newborn babies or infants are made with cotton and the parents often boil them in hot water, but such products need to be used with care. (Phthalate can flow out more easily if it is mixed with detergents, sweat, etc.)

The results of the inspection are as follows.

1) Date and time of inspection  
- Products collection and request for examination: Aug. 28, 2007  Korea    Environment and Merchandise Testing Institute
※ The products being sold in the market were collected in large discount stores     and special stores for children’s clothing.

2) Tested items and test methods
- Items: 6 items were tested under the same test criteria as those of the E.U.

            ( DINP, DEHP, DNOP, DIDP, DBP and BBP)
- Methods used: those capable of detecting the phthalate group among synthetic   resins, as stated in the Law of Quality Management and Industrial Product   Safety Management. ( KSM 1991)

3) Tested products and test results

No

Name of specimen

Test results (Unit: ppm)

Tested items

1

A

DINP - 230,000mg/kg(ppm)

230,000ppm

Among the 6 items of DINP, DEHP, DNOP, DIDP, DBP and BBP, the detected items and   quantity are indicated.

※A quantity under10ppm is regarded as undetected.

※mg/kg=same as ppm.

DEHP - 11,000mg/kg(ppm)

11,000ppm

2

B

DINP - 240,000mg/kg(ppm)

240,000ppm

DEHP - 4,400mg/kg (ppm)

4,400ppm

3

C

DEHP - 220,000mg/kg (ppm)

220,000ppm

4

D

DINP - 270,000mg/kg(ppm)

270,000ppm

5

E

DEHP - 130,000mg/kg (ppm)

130,000ppm

6

F

DINP - 180,000mg/kg(ppm)

180,000ppm

DEHP - 53,000mg/kg(ppm)

53,000ppm

□ Precautions for Consumers and other Recommendations  

- The normal safety standards for various harmful materials were established on March 24, 2007 for products used by infants under 24 months of age. Their production is possible only if they pass the relevant standards by operating the KPS (Korea Product Safety) system. As such, products produced after March 24 must meet the qualifications of the KPS system, and it is obligatory for the relevant products to have the KPS mark attached to them. (Law of Quality Management and Industrial Product Safety Management) The products were collected as specimens to be tested from among products currently being sold in the market. They had been produced before March 24, 2007, when the standards were newly established; thus, consumers need to pay attention when choosing products. In addition, while distribution outlets such as department stores selling expensive products stores are quick to sell products that have acquired the KPS mark, many stores that deal with mid- and low-priced products are not distributing the products with the KPS mark at present, and thus consumers need to choose the products after checking whether they have the KPS mark on them.

Products that have acquired the KPS mark have been proven to meet the standard for various environmentally harmful materials (endocrine disruptors, formaldehyde, etc.). In particular, special precautions are necessary when consumers buy any products for newborn babies or infants since they are extremely sensitive to the hazards posed by harmful chemicals.

- Education and PR activities aimed at people who do not recognize the danger of endocrine disruptors need to be strengthened in order to reduce the risk that occurs in everyday life. Since 2005, the Korean Federation of Housewives Club has visited women’s medical clinics and postpartum care centers to educate pregnant women and new mothers on the danger of endocrine disruptors.

During the educational sessions, pregnant women were taught about the management of nursing bottles and the accurate usage of the products for newborn babies and infants (such as plastic bathtubs, toys and clothing), and new mothers also had an opportunity to check and revise their living habits. Most of the women held certain misconceptions about the wisdom of life such as: boiling clothing for newborn babies and infants unconditionally, or using nursing bottles for a very long time and just changing the teats. (If a nursing bottle, especially a plastic one, is used for a very long time, endocrine disruptors may easily appear due to the excessive time spent on sterilization or scratches made inside the bottle.)

- Overall management of products for children and infants is necessary. Though the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) of Korea is now running the overall management of products for infants according to the Law of Quality Management and Industrial Product Safety Management (Korea Product Safety System: KPS), the KPS system is not being implemented appropriately in conventional markets or special shops for children’s clothing. In a meeting held after the test results were opened by our club, the relevant companies reported that they were acquiring the KPS mark for products that have been produced since March 24, 2007, and the test results sheet was confirmed. However, representatives of the special manufacturers of the socks for children being sold in conventional markets confessed that in reality it is very difficult for them to adopt the system   for cheap products. The information on product testing agencies or the KPS system was not transferred properly and they had no idea about the obligatory system.

The related authorities have to manage not only the producers of high-priced brands but also medium and small-sized manufacturers and special shops so that all products for newborn babies and infants can be managed comprehensively.

Please refer to the attached file for detailed test results and references.

▶ For inquiries, please contact: Sun-bok Kim, General Affairs Manager of Korea Federation of Housewives’ Clubs (02-752-4227)

 



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