As it is disclosed that Korea’s major companies has used filters containing potentially harmful toxin, octylisothiazolinone, or OIT, to produce air purifiers and air conditioners, 3M Korea, which has provided the filters, have become the target of criticism.
The Ministry of Environment (MOE) released a list of 33 air conditioners and 51 air purifiers that used the problematic filters on July 22. It also asked the relevant companies to submit their recall plans, inform customers of the plans and recall their products.
According to the MOE, seven manufacturers – Dayou Winia, Cuckoo, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Coway, ChungHo Nais and Prexco – used 3M Korea’s filters in their air purifiers, while six companies – Hyundai Mobis, Master Chemical, M2S, ICM, Cheongsol and Genpen – used the filters to make vehicle air conditioning systems. Only Doowon used the filters manufactured by CNTUS-Sungjin. Both LG and Samsung used 3M Korea’s filters in air conditioners for home.
Previously, 3M Korea admitted to supply its potentially toxic filters to Hanil Electronics’ ultraviolet baby bottle sterilizers and the two companies announced to voluntarily recall the products on the 18th. However, the situation has magnified significantly as six other firms – Samsung, LG, Cuckoo, Dayou Winia, ChungHo Nais and Prexco – were found to use 3M Korea’s filters containing the toxic substance to produce their products again.
The MOE launched an investigation later and tested whether the filters used in air purifiers of Dayou Winia, Cuckoo and LG Electronics and car’s air conditioner of Hyundai Mobis contain toxic chemical substances and whether the toxic chemical is released into air. The ministry said on the 20th that it did find out that OIT is released into the air when they operate and it will cooperate with other government branches to recall them accordingly.
3M Korea belatedly announced to voluntarily recall the filters on the 21st. However, the company said that it conducted various experiments at the laboratory in the U.S. headquarters, which received certification from international authorities, such as EPA and ANSI, in order to determine the effects of its filters and found out that only a minute amount of antibacterial substances is released into the air and it doesn’t have harmful effects on the body.
3M’s recall plan is unlikely to quell anger here, especially after it became known that Korea was the only country in which 3M produced and sold the filters containing OIT.