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South Korea has introduced a new standard which makes certain synthetic resin (plastic) products subject to ‘Household Goods Subject to Safety Standards’.

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) made the announcement in October 2019. It was published in National Technology Standards Notice 2019-352 and has created a completely new annex for plastic products – Annex 24.

The scope covers plastic products that are manufactured for use in daily life and which may come into direct contact with human skin. This means it applies to products such as:

  • Mats such as kitchen mats, yoga mats, etc.
  • Footwear such as bath shoes, insoles, slippers etc.
  • Miscellaneous plastic products such as cell phone cases, earphones (limited to headphones and headsets in direct contact with the ear), gym balls, toilet seats and similar products

If a plastic product is covered by any of the following regulations, it is exempt:

  • Food Sanitation Act
  • Electrical Appliances and Household Products Safety Management Act
  • Special Act on Safety Management of Children’s Products

Plastic products covered under Annex 24 must comply with requirements covering:


- Good workmanship and finishes

- Chemical properties:

  • o Lead content:
    1. Paints and surface coatings: ≤ 90 mg/kg
    2. Substrates: ≤ 300 mg/kg
  • o Cadmium content: ≤ 75 mg/kg
  • o Total content of phthalate plasticizers: ≤ 0.1% (sum total of three phthalates (see below))

- Labeling (model, material, dimensions, date of manufacture, manufacturer’s name, importer’s name, address or phone number for domestic manufacturer or importer, country of manufacture and precautions on use)

Phthalates covered by the regulation are:

  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Di(ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

Stakeholders should be aware that the new safety standard for plastic products that are in frequent contact with skin will come into effect on October 22, 2020.

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