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Gov't to ban radioactive material in consumer products

Science 11:00 March 12, 2019

SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will ban using radioactive materials in consumer goods this year following public concerns over radon gas emitted from various products, the government said Tuesday.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said the government finalized this year's policy aimed at preventing a recurrence of radon contamination concerns, including banning the use of the radioactive mineral monazite.

The commission said the use of monazite -- a mineral known as the main reason for the emission of radon -- will be banned in all products that come in close contact with people.

The plans come as a number of consumer products ranging from mattresses to accessories have been found to emit higher-than-permissible levels of radon gas.

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that can be found in nature as an indirect decay product of uranium or thorium. Being exposed to radon for long periods of time can lead to lung cancer.

The agency said it will also ban advertising the health benefits of "negative ion-releasing" products, such as mattresses and bracelets.

In an aim to prevent accidents at nuclear power reactors, the agency plans to push forward a law that mandates more communication with people living closer to the site.

Also, the agency aims to conduct health checkups for all 20,000 people working in areas that compel them to be exposed to more radiation than the general public by 2020.

The logo of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr

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