British consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser has apologized and accepted responsibility for selling deadly disinfectants that killed or injured about 180 people.

Ata Safdar, head of the company's Korean division, made the apology Monday. South Korea is investigating the deaths from mysterious lung ailments, which were discovered in 2011. Earlier the company had refused to take responsibility.

Angry and tearful victims and their relatives interrupted Safdar's news conference, cursing and hitting him.

Authorities blamed chemicals in the disinfectants that many South Korean households used to cleanse humidifiers. Reckitt Benckiser was found to have made products that caused the most injuries among the 221 confirmed victims, 95 of whom died.

Most victims were young children and pregnant women who had the most exposure to the chemicals emitted by their home humidifiers.