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Title [Green People] President of Korea Green Foundation, Choi Yul, demands measures for the “humidifier sterilizer scandal” from the government 2016-07-22

최열대표 옥시 추모.jpg

Photo: President of Korea Green Foundation, Choi Yul (thrid from the right) mourns victims of humidifier sterilizer.


On the 4th of this month, president of Korea Green Foundation, Choi Yul, had a press conference at Rachel Carson Hall in Seosomun-ro in Seoul with presence of Environment and Public Health Civil Center, family group of humidifier sterilizer victims and members of Korea Federation for Environment Movement, arguing for formation of a national disaster center because the number of deaths caused by sterilizer of Oxy and other companies exceeded 700 people.

On the interview with an internet news media, Poli News, Choi Yul emphasized that it is necessary to come up with measures after an environmental accident happens, but prevention is more important because it is too late to take interests in the matter after what happened.


The only successful prevention case of domestic environment movements was preventing construction of Donggang Dam in 2005. Choi made every effort at that time including producing a documentary to show beauty of nature in that area. Then President Kim Dae-jung declared cancellation of Donggang Dam project on World Environment Day on June 5 that year.


Choi said, “Preventing a national project from happening was a big incident. That is why we have to have good leadership, and we don’t have that right now in spite of necessity of good government policies.”  


Choi also mentioned it also applies to the humidifier sterilizer incident. Although the government has a department that is in charge of such matters, it is not doing the job properly, neglecting the problems, which led to bigger problems. Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention belatedly started an epidemiological survey and made the humidifier sterilizer matter official in 2011 which was after patients and doctors took the lead to conduct a tracking study.


Choi Yul said “Minamata disease is considered the most serious environment disease of the 20th century, but the humidifier sterilizer caused more deaths. Companies and the government need to remind themselves that if a hazardous material causes a disease, the contributor has a legal obligation to prove otherwise and that is the theory of probability.”