• British firm’s Korean unit sorry over deaths


    SEOUL: The head of a Korean subsidiary of a British consumer goods company was slapped and shouted down Monday as he apologized for his firm’s role in selling a humidifier disinfectant blamed for more than 100 deaths in South Korea. Shouting “too late” and “cannot forgive” in English, a handful of the victims’ relatives rushed to the podium where Atar Safdar, the head of Oxy Reckitt Benckiser Korea, was speaking at a hotel in Seoul. The executive was slapped and pushed several times as the event descended into chaos. Safdar was finally able to resume his statement, in which he offered a “heartfelt and sincere apology” to all the victims and said his company was committed to a multimillion-dollar compensation plan. The case came to light after four pregnant women died of lung problems for unknown reasons in 2011. A subsequent government probe found a “significant association” between lung damage and products used to sterilize domestic humidifiers. Most of the victims were found to have used Oxy Ssak Ssak, a liquid humidifier disinfectant sold by Reckitt Benckiser in South Korea from 2001, that has been blamed for around 103 deaths – mostly women and children.



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