EcoWaste Coalition Calls for Stronger Measures to Stop Cyanide Poisoning from Illegal Silver Jewelry Cleaner

After claiming its latest victim in Quezon
City, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, urged national and local
authorities to adopt stronger measures to put an end to the accidental or
deliberate ingestion of cyanide-containing silver jewelry liquid cleaner.
Last Friday, Reynalyn D. Paragas, 20, of Barangay Sto. Domingo, drank a bottle
of silver cleaner following an argument with her live-in partner Raymart Ong
that led to her death, as reported by Police Investigator PO2 Julius Balbuena.
Ong told the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patroller who went today to the
wake at P. Florentino St., Barangay Sto. Domingo that Paragas, mother of their
two children, obtained the silver cleaner from a shop at the nearby public
market in Barangay Tatalon.
Despite the fatal incident, the EcoWaste Coalition still managed to buy for
just P20 an unlabeled silver cleaner on a plastic bottle that reportedly killed
Paragas at Stalls 33-34, Diyamonon St., Barangay Tatalon.
“The ban jointly imposed in 2010 by the Department of Health (DOH) and the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is apparently inadequate
to totally annihilate the unlawful production and sale of cyanide-containing
silver cleaning agents,” observed Thony Dizon, Project Protect Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition.
“We still find unlabeled silver jewelry cleaners  being sold by non-compliant
shops and by vendors such as those in Recto Avenue, Divisoria, Manila, Mega Q
Mart and Tatalon Market in Quezon City,” he said.
“It’s high time for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to
step in and mobilize the local government, police and barangay authorities to
wipe out such illegal product that poses lethal threat to human health, “ he
“We hope that Reynalyn’s  death will move the three national government
agencies (DENR, DILG and DOH) and the local authorities to resolutely act,
together with the public, to make cyanide poisoning a thing of the past,” he
According to a health advisory by the Department of Health (DOH), “the cyanide
found in most of the silver jewelry cleaning solutions is classified as a
poisonous substance liable to cause death or serious injury to human.”
“Acute poisoning occurs through inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption.
 Cyanide is rapidly absorbed in the body and blocks utilization of oxygen
in all organs,” the DOH said.
True enough, toxicologists have identified silver jewelry cleaner as one of top
10 toxicants that has poisoned and, in numerous cases, killed Filipinos due to
the accidental or suicidal ingestion.
Citing data from the UP National Poison Management and Control Center (UPNPMCC),
the EcoWaste Coalition reported that the top 10 poison agents in terms of
in-patient referrals for pediatric age group are kerosene, caustics (for
example, liquid bleach), silver jewelry
cleaners, pesticides (for example, insecticide lotion and spray and rat
poison), ferrous sulfate, elemental mercury (for example, the silvery liquid in
some thermometers), paint thinner, paracetamol, button batteries and
benzodiazepines (psychoactive  drugs).