The consumer dispute settlement process will be carried out in connection with the controversy over the detection of radon (grade 1 carcinogen) in the apartment building newly built by POSCO Engineering & Construction (POSCO E&C) in Songdo International City, Incheon.
According to Rep. Lee Jung-mi of the Justice Party, representatives of new apartments in Songdo filed for relief from radon damage to the Korea Consumer Agency on June 30 against POSCO E&C, the apartment builder
Residents said that radon was found in finishing materials (granite stones) used in toilet shelves and in front door footrests, and demanded that all of the finishing materials be replaced.
Radon measurements commissioned by residents to private companies showed 210 to 306 becquerels exceeding the benchmark 148 becquerels (Bq/m3).
However, POSCO E&C believes that the apartments were approved before the application of the Indoor Air Quality Management Act (January 1, 2018), which imposed an obligation to inform residents of whether or not to detect radon, so they are not obliged to be replaced.
Radon is easily exposed in everyday life and can also cause lung cancer in non-smokers. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 3 to 14 percent of all lung cancer patients develop from radon.
The residents also raised suspicions of "cover-up," saying that POSCO E&C coated the finishing materials of apartments that were built for 180 households to move in the apartments to prevent radon from being detected in the finishing materials.
POSCO E&C explained that the coating work was done to ease concerns among residents who are about to enter the apartments due to controversy over the detection of radon above the standard level.
The consumer dispute settlement committee will make an arbitration decision in October after listening to the opinions of the parties, reviewing submitted materials, consulting experts, and reviewing laws by next month.
"POSCO E&C, which knows the legal deficiencies of radon, blames on the guidelines of the government," said Rep. Lee. "The Korea Consumer Agency, the Fair Trade Commission and the Environment Ministry should come up with damage relief and alternatives based on the accurate investigation."