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Protestors target Reckitt Benckiser over deaths

Thursday, May 05, 2016 - 01:35

Demonstrators gather at a Reckitt Benckiser shareholders' meeting in London to protest against its sale of humidifier sterilizers linked to deadly lung injuries in South Korea. As Sara Hemrajani reports, the company's acceptance of responsibility has sparked calls for further legal action to be taken.

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A solemn show of solidarity. British activists and South Korean families gather outside a Reckitt Benckiser shareholders' meeting in London. They say they want justice after the firm accepted responsibility for selling products linked to fatal lung injuries. SOUNDBITE: Choi Ye-Yong, Asian Citizens' Centre for Environment and Health, saying (English): "What they really worry about is not Korean victims, you know, and Korean people's complaining or appealing, but international influence. So now it is time, we are going to deliver our message." Since 2011, 530 people have registered claims for lung ailments after using humidifier sterilizers in South Korea. The government says 92 deaths are believed to be linked to the items. Reckitt is one of a dozen companies implicated. It made a full public apology for the first time this week at a news conference, where a company executive was slapped. SOUNDBITE: Mike Ingram, market strategist, BGC Partners, saying (English): "Well the damage to Reckitt Benckiser might be quite significant. It is a very large, very diversified consumer goods company, there are a lot of brands which Reckitt effectively stands behind. And this incident calls into question quality control and, of course, if there's one thing people are generally concerned about it's their health." Reckitt, known for brands like Dettol and Nurofen, says it's settled most claims and has offered compensation. But these demonstrators, and many in South Korea, aren't impressed. A major supermarket chain in the country says it's stopped ordering Reckitt products, and further boycotts could follow.

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Protestors target Reckitt Benckiser over deaths

Thursday, May 05, 2016 - 01:35