Oxy apologizes for sterilizer deaths

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Oxy apologizes for sterilizer deaths

Breaking a five-year silence since its humidifier sterilizers were linked to deaths and sicknesses of hundreds of users, Reckitt Benckiser Korea, manufacturer of the popular Oxy line of cleaning products, issued an apology Thursday and said it was “deeply sorry” for inflicting harm.

However, while the page-long written statement said the company was “keenly realizing” its social responsibility and would “negotiate” with the victims and their families for financial compensation, it failed to acknowledge any technical wrongdoing, saying it “worked hard” to find solutions to the rising complaints.

“What a nerve,” said Kang Chan-ho, co-leader of a victims’ group, after reading the British-based company’s statement. “A total of 103 people died [after using the product] and they’re still pleading innocence.”

At least 143 deaths have been linked to sterilizers made by Reckitt Benckiser Korea and other manufacturers. Prosecutors have linked 70 of those deaths to Oxy and the victims’ group has linked 103.

Bu Eun-jeong, 44, who says she lost her son 23 months after his birth because of the poisonous humidifier sterilizer, lashed out at the statement.

BY JANG HYUK-JIN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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