[Letters] Act quickly to reform KFDA

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[Letters] Act quickly to reform KFDA

Regarding the April 13 editorial, “Can We Trust the KFDA?” about belated action by the Korea Food and Drug Administration [regarding asbestos in talc] my opinion is that the government should take stronger action to prevent shocking accidents from happening again.

First of all, asbestos fear has driven people to think that there is no safety anywhere, even at home. There is no guarantee that we are safe from contaminated household products as well as food. As a mother of two kids, I can’t deny there is a fast-growing sense of anxiety and danger. How can I raise my children in a country where mothers have to blame themselves for having used baby powder that might have a cancer-causing substance on their precious babies without any warning of possible danger?

It is shocking that a material banned around the world is still being used. Developed countries made rules against the use of asbestos in the late 1980s. In a few studies in 2004, some Korean researchers showed that the talc frequently used in tablets and capsules has the potential to cause cancers due to asbestos. The KFDA, however, ignored them and let the asbestos-contaminated drugs and food be sold in stores. This is an apparent dereliction of duty. The KFDA as well as the government should be responsible for carelessness with the life of the nation.

I think wide-scale reform measures should be implemented. According to the KFDA, the decision to recall and ban sales of the list of products was “taking public sentiment into account.” Was it just intended to avoid blame or to put the blame on pharmaceutical industries and hospitals? Stopgap measures to hush people’s fears aren’t enough. Unless the government takes stronger reform measures within the KFDA, shocking accidents will happen sooner or later.

As a citizen of this country, I urge the government to take full responsibility for people’s health. It must take quick action to regain people’s trust by setting up clear standards for the use of materials as well as communicating with the public about potential dangers.

Lim Mi-ri, miriye@yahoo.com
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