Harmful substances found in foreign products sold online
By Yun Suh-young
The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) said Thursday harmful substances were detected in 11 health aids or food products sold on foreign websites.
Among the 11 were five dietary products. Another five were for sexual performance enhancement. The remaining one was for muscle development. They were among 24 products that were subject to the KFDA scrutiny.
The regulator said in a press release that hazardous chemicals such as phenolphthalein, reductil and yohimbin were detected in capsules whose amounts ranged from 1.1 milligram to 44.7 milligrams.
Phenolphthalein is a carcinogen which has been banned in the country since 1988. The World Health Organization also recommends that countries prohibit the sale of the substance.
Reductil is known to cause side effects such as high blood pressure and constipation. The government prohibited the distribution of the material in 2010. Yohimbin is a substance used on animals recovering from anesthesia.
From the sexual performance-enhancing products, substances such as sildenafil, tadalafil and icarin were detected in each capsule. The amounts ranged from 2.2 milligrams to 87.4 milligrams, the KFDA said.
Sildenafil and tadalafil are advertised to tackle male impotency. However, they cause side effects such as heart attacks when taken by someone with cardiovascular diseases. Icarin is also a banned. But it was found in erectile-dysfunction products. Icarin was also detected in a muscle-enhancing product.
The KFDA said it also collected and tested 11 other products sold via domestic websites and concluded that no harmful substances were detected in them.
“We have asked the Korea Communications Commission to block access to foreign websites that sell harmful products. We have also requested the Korea Customs Service to carefully inspect incoming baggage and international mail to prevent any banned products from flowing into the country,” a KFDA official said.
Information on products that contain harmful substances and how to detect them are posted on the KFDA website (www.kfda.go.kr).