Health Day is observed today, April 7, a toxics watchdog pressed the government
to launch a vigorous campaign against inhalant abuse amid reports of
out-of-school youth addiction to adhesives, glues, sealants and other aromatic
Coalition made a clarion call to national government agencies (NGAs) and local
government units (LGUs) for heightened action that will, in particular, ban the
over-the-counter sale to children of rugby contact cement, “Vulca Seal”and
related items that are often sourced from hardware stores.
Rugby, “Vulca Seal” and other allied products contain health-damaging volatile
organic compounds that are emitted as gases or vapors, which are not intended
to be inhaled as glue sniffers in the streets of Metro Manila do, the EcoWaste
Coalition pointed out.
“We appeal to concerned NGAs, LGUs, civic, faith and business groups to put
their heads together to, once and for all, eliminate this chemical addiction
affecting boys and girls and even adults living on the streets. It’s time to
put the nail in the coffin on inhalant abuse that can lead to serious health
consequences,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition’s Project
“inhalant abuse is the deliberate inhalation of volatile chemical substances
that contain psycho-active vapors to produce a state of intoxication.”
Immediate health effects, as per DDB, include confusion, distorted perception
of time and distance, aggressive behavior, hallucination, illusions, nausea and
vomiting, drowsiness and weight loss.
Delayed health effects include loss of memory, inability to think, muscle
cramps and weakness, numbness in limbs, abdominal pains and damage to the
central nervous system, kidneys, liver and bone marrow, explained the DDB.
A strategy meeting to combat inhalant abuse should devise a holistic plan that
will strictly restrict the sale of adhesives, glues, sealants and related
products to qualified users and never to kids, and provide systematic
psycho-social interventions, including counselling services as well as
educational, skills-building and value formation opportunities to solvent
addicts, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.
The group identified the following NGAs as key players in combating inhalant
abuse: Council for the Welfare of Children; Departments of Education,
Environment and Natural Resources, Health, Interior and Local Government, Social
Welfare and Development and Trade and Industry; Food and Drugs Administration;
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency; Philippine National Police; and the
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
In the meantime, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded adhesive and glue
manufacturers to strictly follow the DDB Board Regulation No. 2, Series of 2009
classifying toluene-based contact cement without at least 5% mustard oil
content as dangerous drug.
“Better still, we urge manufacturers to make toluene-free adhesives that will
be safer to use and less deleterious if misused,” Dizon.
A market surveillance conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition on April 5 and 6,
2013 showed that there are brands of all-purpose contact cement in 45 ml. and
300 ml. bottles such as “Bostik Rugby Excel” and “Shelby Do All” that contain
no toluene, while “Zebra” has “sniffing deterrent of 5% mustard oil.”
The EcoWaste Coalition is a
national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable
and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the
envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.
(go to “Laws & Regulations” and click “BR No. 2 s 2009”)