Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sale of 'suicide cleaner' continues

AN ENVIRONMENTAL group said some jewelry and watch stores in Metro Manila malls are still selling silver cleaning solutions despite a blanket ban on the poisonous substance.

The EcoWaste Coalition's AlerToxic Patrol said they were able to purchase 30 unlabeled or unregistered silver cleaners in Grand Central Mall (five stores) and Victory Central Mall (four) in Caloocan City.

The same product was also found in Guadalupe Shopping Center in Makati City (two); Manila City Plaza in Quiapo, Manila (two); Starmall Alabang in Muntinlupa City (11); and Farmer's Plaza (four); and SM North Edsa (two) in Quezon City.

"Despite the ban, silver jewelry cleaners are so easily available to anyone with the cash to buy them," said Thony Dizon, coordinator for the EcoWaste Coalition's Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats)

The University of the Philippines-National Poison Management and Poison Control Center at the Philippine General Hospital and the East Avenue Medical Center Poison Control Unit considered silver jewelry cleaning agents as one of the top three toxicants among patients admitted in the past two years.

It is also the third most commonly swallowed poison among children. Cyanide, a lethal ingredient found in silver cleaners, can kill instantly even in small amount.

A string of suicides using silver cleaners prompted the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a joint advisory against the sale of toxic cleaners.

The advisory specifically penalizes importers, retailers, and commercial establishments who are selling and dispensing unregistered, unlabeled silver cleaners.

However, the results of the coalition's market monitoring have shown that these items are still rampant in the market.

"Offenders must be punished to the full extent of the law. Ito ay kailangang gawin para hindi pamarisan," said Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition.

"Cutting the supply off at the source is the only way to ensure that this 'suicide cleaner' is removed from the market," said Dizon.

"Manufacturers and retailers have no business selling a highly poisonous substance with such impunity," he added.


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