South Korea Goes After Contaminators

The South Korean environmental ministry has proven violations of the K-REACH chemicals law by 33 companies and individuals. All cases involve the prohibited sale and use of polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG). Historically, the substance was added to disinfectants for humidifiers in South Korea – partly in concentrations up to 25%. This usage led to a poisoning scandal in South Korea several years ago. According to a BBC report, about 500 people were killed or sustained significant injury between 2001 and 2011 because of exposure to the substance.

Although a concentration limit for the substance has existed since 2014, it continued to be manufactured and imported in significant quantities. That’s why the South Korean environmental ministry examined the supply chain and checked the safety data sheets of a few companies. In most cases, however, the documents characterized the substances as completely non-toxic or of low toxicity.

About 295 tons of PHMG (as a phosphate and chloride) were sold last year in South Korea. Some of this amount came from China.

Ensure the safety of your products. For many years, we have advised companies with business relationships in South Korea. If you have any questions, please contact us at

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