Humidifier sterilizer caused 112 deaths

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Humidifier sterilizer caused 112 deaths

Sterilizing agents used in household humidifiers were responsible for many more deaths than previously reported, Representative Jang Ha-na of the major opposition Democratic United Party said yesterday, citing a report by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of the victims were children.

In 2011, a mysterious series of deaths of people from all over Korea from pulmonary fibrosis made headlines. Over an eight year period, 28 people, including pregnant women, died of pulmonary fibrosis of an unknown origin. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that sterilizers used in humidifiers were the cause.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare ordered a mandatory recall of six sterilizer brands for humidifiers in November 2011.

Representative Jang said in a statement released yesterday a total of 112 deaths resulted from the humidifier sterilizing agents, including the 28 originally disclosed. Since Nov. 2011, many more cases have been reported to authorities by families.

The lawmaker said a total of 357 people were made ill by the sterilizing agents. Of the total, almost one in three, or 112 patients, died of lung damage.

“Among the total death toll of 112 reported to the disease control center, victims groups and civic groups, young children, infants and pregnant women comprise a majority of the casualties,” the lawmaker said.

The deaths disclosed by the 36-year-old representative are especially alarming for families with kids as 57 percent of them, or 64 out of 112 casualties, were children aged one month to seven years old.

By Kang Jin-kyu []
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