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Casamia sued over radioactive mattress toppers

Nov 21,2018
Furniture manufacturer Casamia has been sued for damage worth 173 million won ($154,000) for its radioactive mattress topper sets.

The suit against Casamia is the second collective lawsuit concerning a product emitting radon, following the case against Daijin Bed earlier this year.

On Nov. 16, 173 customers filed a suit to claim 173 million won from Casamia and its chief executive. The Seoul Central District Court will be in charge of the case, with the first trial date as yet undecided.

“The suit filed last week is to claim one million won per plaintiff as compensation for the emotional damage it caused to families,” said Hwang Kyung-tae, an attorney at local law firm Sinji, on Tuesday.

“We’re going to see how the suit goes, but there are plans to claim damages for health effects in the future for plaintiffs that show symptoms. Skin disease is frequent among the plaintiffs, even children, while some have problems with their lungs.”

Just months after Daijin Bed was found to have sold radioactive beds, a small number of Casamia mattress topper sets were found to emit dangerous amounts of radon - the same element found in the Daijin beds. Long-term exposure to radon is linked to cancer and respiratory diseases.

Casamia’s radioactive product was the Casaon Memeotex mattress topper set that come with two pillows and a body pillow that can be hugged while sleeping. A mattress topper is a thin pad that can be placed on a mattress to make it more comfortable. The bundle was sold in 2011 through a TV home shopping channel and several e-commerce websites.

Following a request from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, Casamia recalled over 15,000 products nationwide in August.

“Casamia is not considering compensation other than product exchanges or refunds and refuses to offer either to those who have proof of purchasing the products but do not own them at the moment,” said Hwang.

Daijin Bed has already appeared in court twice. In May, 21 different mattresses from Daijin were found to emit dangerous amounts of radon, with a total of 87,000 units recalled.

Late last month, the Korea Consumer Agency told Daijin that it should compensate each victim with 300,000 won due to the emotional stress caused by the case. Consumers and Daijin can either choose to accept and settle the case or continue to pursue restitution in court.

Daijin’s attorney said in a second hearing on Nov. 13 that the company is “practically broke” as its assets were seized by the court.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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