[기자수첩] The mother who bought the daiso baby bath is innocent

The arrow of criticism is flying in the wrong place in relation to the case of a group dispute in baby bathtubs, which the government ordered to recall due to the detection of endocrine disruptors 612 times higher than the standard. When the Korea Consumer Agency recently recommended that manufacturers, etc. pay alimony of 50,000 won per household to consumers who have suffered psychological damage, some readers who saw the news said, “I don’t understand even mothers who bought cheap newborn products from Daiso.” asked for responsibility

In fact, the government’s responsibility for the flawed KC (Korea Certification) system that caused this incident is missing and the victims are being hurt twice. The outcome of dispute resolution by the Consumer Agency is a follow-up measure. Even if it is a low-priced product, if it has received ‘KC certification’, there must be a ‘preliminary measure’ that you can trust and buy, but the current system cannot prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.

The product, which was sold in large numbers at Daiso, was called a ‘national childcare item’ and was so popular that it was traded for 3 to 10 times more than the original price (5,000 won) on second-hand trading platforms and mom cafes. Compared to other bathtubs, the angle of the backrest is low, making it convenient to wash newborns who cannot control their necks.

The problem is that once KC certification is obtained, there is no way to check if raw materials are changed in the subsequent manufacturing process. According to the Consumer Agency, Daehyun Chemical, a manufacturer of baby bathtubs, received the first KC certification as an eco-friendly material in 2018, and then changed the material of the drain hole when delivering to Daiso in 2019. Eco-friendly raw materials are made to order and take a considerable amount of time (7 to 10 days), so we used cheaper general raw materials instead of eco-friendly raw materials. There was no separate test and inspection after the change of raw materials.

As a result, in December of last year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s National Institute of Technology and Standards ordered a recall, stating that phthalate plasticizer, an environmental hormone, was detected in the bathtub drain at 612.5 times the standard value. Phthalate-based plasticizers are chemicals used to soften plastics, and prolonged exposure can cause liver damage and reduced reproductive function.

According to the KC certification standards, baby bathtubs are classified as ‘Supplier Conformity Confirmed Products’ (products that are unlikely to harm the baby’s life or body), and there is no recertification process after receiving the first certification. This is the reason why the bathtub continued to be sold with the KC certification displayed on it. With this incident as an opportunity, discussions on system improvement should continue so that the government’s safety guarantee can be trusted. Currently, a bill to amend the ‘Children’s Product Safety Special Act’ was proposed to the National Assembly to subject products for infants and toddlers to stricter safety management to prevent recurrence. The government and the National Assembly should come up with measures to prevent damage to consumers who purchased with trust in the government through discussions on the amendment bill.

Reference-www.khan.co.kr

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