Recently in Korea, there was an excessive amount of radon detected from a mattress and shocked the Korean citizens. Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas, and long-term exposure to this gas increases the risk of lung cancer. This incident caused chaos in the Korean society because the mattress was from a domestic bed producer, Daijin. Although the company marketed their mattresses by advertising the health benefits of negative ions emitted by the mattresses, the truth was that it is fatal for human health. This led to a public outrage among consumers who have been using this mattress for years. This is because the company was selling the mattresses that contained carcinogen.
[The place where the KFEM measures the amount of radon and radiation emitted from suspicious products, photo by Seyun Bang]
Inspired from this occurring of radon being detected from mattresses that were once known as “healthy,” the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) came up with a program/campaign called the “Daily-Life Radiation 119” to prevent further sufferings of people from furniture or other goods that are often found in houses. If one is suspicious of any of his/her possessions in the house, he/she can report to the KFEM and the organization will measure the radiation or radon level of the furniture/goods if he/she brings it to the office. The address of the KFEM is 23, Pirundae-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea. People can find out more about this program from www.kfem.or.kr.
[The measuring device for radon emission, photo by Seyun Bang]
The director of this program as well as the director of the Energy and Climate department, Mr. Ahn Jae-Hun argued that the KFEM should step forward and start the customer service program because citizens are unsure about the reliability of the products they are using and how to deal with products that are found to be harmful. He also explained that the correspondence and the actions of the government takes about this issue are inadequate. Thus the organization, itself, is willing to provide information about the radiation and radon emission to alerted citizens. They are also doing their best to get the government to create a permanent system and to take more interest in these kinds of issues through this “Daily-Life Radiation 119” campaign. The KFEM started this specific program in June and the organization is planning to continue this program for two to three months. So far they have received 120-130 requests and have finished examining 50 of those cases. Mr. Ahn advised the citizens that if they are suspicious of a product in their houses, they should first search online and contact the company in which to find out what the product is made of. However, if it is difficult for the citizens to find out or if they want to accurately measure the level of radiation/radon, they can request in the KFEM. Also, when one is suspicious of his/her product, it is best not to use it, or at least not contact it and be exposed to it for a long period of time, until he/she gets the accurate measurement.
[Photo of myself interviewing Mr. Ahn-Jae-Hun, photo credit to Kyung-Hee Yoon]
Rumsey Hall School
Seyun Bang firstname.lastname@example.org
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