South Korean Bans the Household Cleaning Uses of Microbeads

South Korean Bans the Household Cleaning Uses of MicrobeadsSouth Korean to ban household cleaning use of microbead and 3 products are newly designated as the household chemical products subject to the verification.

On Nov 27, 2019, the South Korean Ministry of Environment announced an amendment to the “Designation of Household Chemical Products Subject to Safety Verification and Safety and Labeling Standards”. The main contents in this amendment are to prohibit microbead from household cleaning products, the production and importation of humidifier liquid that added with chemicals and natural extract substance as well as the air filter uses of 5 respiratory-inhibitive substances including Polyhexamethyleneguanidine (PHMG), ethoxyethylguanidine chloride (PGH), poly (hexamethylene biguanide) hydrochloride (PHMB), methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and 5-chloromethylisothiazolinone (CMIT).

Red seal ink pads, correction liquid/tape and Fog fluid for performance use are newly designated as the product subject to safety verification and the total number of product items has increased from 35 to 38 and their safety standards are as follows:


Prohibited Substance

Restrictive Substance and Limit

Red seal ink pads

Arsenic, Cadmium

Mercury 500 mg / kg, Lead 500 mg / kg

Correction fluids and tapes

Benzene, Tetrachloroethylene (TCE)


Fog fluid for performance


Ethylene Glycol 10%, Diethylene Glycol 10%

The uses of water-insoluble solid plastics up to 5 micrometers in cleansers, removers, laundry detergents, bleaches and fabric softeners shall be prohibited. In addition, mercury was designated as the prohibited substance in 4 types of biocidal products including fungicides, algaecides, insect repellents and wood preservatives and the tolerance limit will be 1 mg/kg.

The designation of household chemical products subject to safety verification and safety and labeling standards is an important component of Korean biocide regulation, “Law 15511-Act on the Safety Management of Household Chemical Products and Biocides (K-BPR)”. Based on the scientific risk assessment, a household chemical product would be designated by the MoE and may be developed with safety criteria and labeling requirements including:

  • Substances prohibited from being used in the product and limit of specific substances in the products;
  • Packaging requirements in case of leakage prevention and children protection, etc.;
  • Mandatory labeling information displayed (producer/importer, contact information, use precaution, signal words, pictograms, verification mark/approval number and other information specified by the MoE)

Prior to the importation or production of a safety-verification product that specified with safety and labeling standards, the producers and importers need to complete the verification test at the MoE designated testing facility. The validity will be only 3 years and retest should be conducted after the expiration. For safety-verification products not yet specified with safety and labeling standards, the importers and producers shall submit MoE the information on the use, hazard and exposure information on the chemical substances contained in the product for further approval.

By 2020, 38 items of 13 categories of household chemical products have been designated as the safety-verification products, of which 31 have been established with safety standard and labeling requirements:

Household Chemical Products Subject to Safety Verification(2020)

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