28 May 2013

DILG Sec. Mar Roxas Urged to Help Break the Supply Chain of Deadly Silver Jewelry Cleaner (Government Asked to Issue New Policy with Teeth to End String of Tragic Deaths)


The EcoWaste Coalition today asked Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, along with other local government and police officials, to go after the producers and vendors of deadly cyanide-laced silver jewelry cleaning products.

This developed as the group went to Binondo, Manila yesterday to condole with the family of a 15-year old mother of a two-month old baby boy who took her own life last Saturday by drinking the fatal cleaning solution.

“The number of cyanide poisoning deaths due to intentional and unintentional consumption of silver jewelry cleaner continues to climb,” lamented Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

From January to May 2013 alone, the EcoWaste Coalition monitored nine reported cases of suicidal ingestion of silver cleaner from the cities of Manila, Navotas and Pasay that included three teenage female fatalities.

Acute poisoning occurs when the cyanide content of the cleaning liquid is absorbed by the body via ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption, blocking the utilization of oxygen at the cell, tissue and organ levels and causing death.

The Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in September 2010 released a joint advisory banning the sale of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide and other toxic substances, as well as their importation, manufacturing, distribution and sale without product registration and labeling, but to no avail.

“The DOH-DENR advisory banning silver jewelry cleaner with cyanide is obviously inadequate in preventing such tragic deaths. Now more than ever, we need a stronger policy involving other agencies such as the DILG and one that has teeth to break the nasty supply chain and put the culprits behind bars,” noted Dizon.

“Secretary Roxas and the entire DILG machinery should be in the forefront in this fight against a toxic menace that has already taken so many lives," he added.

Newly elected city and municipal councilors should waste no time in drafting and filing ordinances that will impose severe fines and penalties to violators of the ban on toxic silver jewelry cleaner, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested.

It added that such ordinances to be effective should require information activities targeting businesses and consumers, and incorporate strong compliance monitoring, enforcement and penalty provisions.

Even if local ordinances are not yet in place, the LGUs should immediately take action in line with their responsibility to protect the public health and welfare under the Local Government Code and the Constitution, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed.

-end-

REFERENCE:
Joint DOH-DENR Advisory on “Ban on Silver Cleaning Solution Containing Cyanide and other Toxic Substances,” September 2010:
DOH Health Advisory on Silver Jewelry Cleaners,” July 2010:
http://www.doh.gov.ph/files/dm2010-0159.pdf

REPORTED CASES:

1. Jennifer de Guzman, 16, Sta. Cruz, Manila
2. Jacinto de Guzman, 38, Sta. Cruz, Manila
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/343827/man-kills-2-kids-self

3. Carlo Taure, 27, Navotas City
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/01/20/13/%E2%80%98lonesome%E2%80%99-man-drinks-silver-cleaner

4. Carlota C. Aure, 26, Navotas City
http://www.remate.ph/2013/01/dalaga-lumaklak-ng-lason-tigbak/

5. Mark alias “Puti,” 20-25, Tondo, Manila
http://www.remate.ph/2013/02/binata-lumagok-ng-silver-cleaner-tigok/

6. Ernesto Alvaro, 33, Tondo, Manila
http://www.abante-tonite.com/issue/feb0713/crime_story04.htm

7. Janelyn Ulep, 24, Pasay City
http://www.tempo.com.ph/2013/04/desperate-lady-guard-commits-suicide/

8. Kristel Tejada, 16, Tondo, Manila
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/03/16/920420/student-kills-self-over-tuition

9. “Nene,” 15, Binondo, Manila
http://www.philstar.com/psn-metro/2013/05/26/946267/dalagita-tumungga-ng-silver-cleaner
(“Nene” is only 15 at the time of her death. She’s from Binondo, not Tondo, as reported in some news articles.)

 

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