Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eco groups seek stricter measures vs poisonous jewelry cleaner

Ecological groups are urging the government to impose stricter
measures to control the use of a banned silver jewelry cleaner
containing cyanide.

EcoWaste Coalition said cyanide-laced silver jewelry cleaners, banned
since 1997, has killed nine people from January to June this year,
five of them children.

Citing data from the UP National Poison Management and Control Center
(UPNPMCC), EcoWaste said in 2009 alone, 11 persons, eight of them
children, died out of the 235 people who were poisoned by the silver

The UPNPMCC figures showed that the non-accidental intake of silver
cleaners rose from 7 percent in 2005 to 86 percent in 2009, the group
said in the open letter posted on the EcoWaste Coalition website.

"This deadly concoction has become a modern day scourge linked to
senseless deaths of young, adolescent and adult Filipinos," EcoWaste
Coalition said in an open letter to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje
and Environmental Management Bureau chief Juan Miguel Cuna.

They urged the DENR-EMB to:

1. Strictly enforce the ban on the use of cyanide in silver jewelry cleaners;

2. Confiscate, with the help of law enforcement units, silver cleaners
that are not duly registered, labelled, tested and certified as

3. Duly charge violators, and

3. Promote non-toxic alternatives to cleaning tarnished jewelry.

According to EcoWaste, the DENR's EMB is chiefly and legally
responsible in implementing the ban on cyanide-laced silver jewelry
cleaners, imposed in 1997.

"Whether or not silver cleaners are classified as products or
substances, the fact remains that the CCO is shamelessly violated,
thus endangering the people’s health and safety," they said.

"These senseless deaths could have been prevented if only the ban on
the commercial use of cyanide (i.e., as one of the chemical additives
of silver cleaners) had been firmly enforced. Our government can stop
this deadly onslaught by enforcing the ban and bringing to court
unscrupulous producers, distributors and vendors of this toxic stuff
who, knowingly or unwittingly, victimize innocent children and exploit
people’s despair," the group said.

"An 'Oplan Silver Cleaner,' led by the DENR-EMB and supported by other
stakeholders, should be launched with urgency, mindful that we are
racing against time to save the next Filipino from getting injured and
killed by cyanide poisoning," they said.


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