EcoWaste Coalition Backs Fresh Drive to Rid the Market, Including Online Shopping Sites, of Cyanide-Laced Silver Jewelry Cleaners

The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has thrown its support behind the government’s renewed drive to stop the unlawful sale of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide, a fast-acting lethal poison.

Following the release of Advisory No. 2021-0879 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reiterating the prohibition on cyanide-containing silver jewelry cleaners, the EcoWaste Coalition pushed for stakeholders’ unity to finally put an end to the illegal trade of such a dangerous product.

“To eliminate potential risks to human health brought about by cyanide exposure, the FDA hereby reiterates the ban on all silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide that is manufactured, distributed, imported, sold, and offered for sale or promoted in the market/ecommerce marketplaces,” the advisory said.

The illegal trade has gone unabated despite the issuance of Joint Advisory No. 2010-0001 by the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources strictly prohibiting the sale of silver jewelry cleaning solutions containing cyanide, the EcoWaste Coalition observed.

For more than a decade, we have heard of many heartrending poisoning stories due to accidental or deliberate ingestion of cyanide-laced silver jewelry cleaners leading to the sudden death of victims, including innocent children who mistook the clear liquid for water,” lamented Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

Since 2009, we have repeatedly asked the authorities to resolutely act to stop these deadly cyanide poisoning cases. Thus we welcome FDA’s fresh directive reiterating the ban on cyanide-containing silver jewelry cleaners. This we hope would be the final nail in the coffin,” he said.

We therefore call upon all stakeholders, including consumers, silver jewelry stores, national and local health and police offices and others, to work with the FDA toward the effective enforcement of its latest advisory,” he emphasized.

With the growing popularity of digital commerce, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the management of online shopping platforms to immediately take down ads by third party dealers for silver jewelry cleaners not registered with the FDA and to blacklist non-compliant sellers. 

Many of the silver jewelry cleaning products being sold online are not authorized and may contain an undisclosed amount of cyanide, which is highly toxic to people and marine life even at low concentrations," Dizon pointed out.
As it reported to the FDA last September 2020, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed alarm over the online sale of unregistered silver jewelry cleaning products, including “Silver Sparkle” that the agency had previously pinpointed in 2016 as containing cyanide.

“Post-marketing surveillance activities and laboratory testing conducted by the FDA Common Services Laboratory showed that silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide are still being sold in the market,” the FDA Advisory No. 2021-0879 said.

It added that “cases of poisoning from silver jewelry cleaners with clinical features of changes of sensorium, loss of consciousness and hemodynamic instability as possible signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning, were documented by the National Poison and Management Control Center of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital up to the year of 2020.”

Alternatively, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested the use of liquid dish soap, washing detergent, toothpaste, vinegar and baking soda for polishing silver jewelry instead of unauthorized cleaners that may contain cyanide and other harmful chemicals.