Manila LGU Lauded for Seizing Deadly Oxalic Acid Sold in Streets, DENR Urged to Step In to Curb the Unauthorized Repacking and Sale of Oxalic Acid

The EcoWaste
Coalition, a toxics watchdog, commended the Manila City Government for confiscating
repacked Oxalic acid that is illegally being sold by sidewalk vendors in
Divisoria, Manila.
Government personnel from the Manila Health Department yesterday seized three sacks
of the hazardous substance that street vendors of cleaning chemicals and cooking
condiments in Divisoria are selling from as low as P20 per packet.
The operation came on the heels of the EcoWaste Coalition’s demand to ban the
street sale of Oxalic acid that reportedly claimed the lives of Ergo Cha Milk Tea
House owner William Abrigo and customer Suzaine Dagohoy as announced by the police
“The unchecked sale of toxic substances on the streets is a clear threat to
public health and safety and should not be condoned,” said Thony Dizon,
Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“We commend Manila’s health authorities for their swift action.  They should conduct more frequent random
operations to clear the city’s streets of various contraband goods that pose
hazards to human health and the environment,” he said.

Aside from Oxalic acid, EcoWaste Coalition has time and again expressed concern over the unlawful trade of government-banned products in Divisoria, Quiapo and Santa Cruz, including unregistered household insecticides containing cypermethrin, silver jewelry cleaner containing cyanide and cosmetics containing toxic metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury.

In addition, the EcoWaste Coalition called on the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources –  Environmental
Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) to support Manila City Government’s action against
the illegal trade of Oxalic acid.

“We urge the DENR-EMB to intervene and get to the bottom of this illegal street
vending of Oxalic acid,” Dizon said.    
As stated the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Oxalic acid is regulated by
the DENR-EMB as per FDA Circular 2013-015 regarding the “Deregulation of Bulk
Industrial Chemicals Used as Raw Materials in Cosmetic Products and Household
Products Considered as Urban Hazardous Substances.”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oxalic is
colorless crystals or white powder that can be absorbed into the body by
inhalation of its aerosol and by ingestion.

“The substance is corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract and exposure above the occupational exposure limits may result in death,” the CDC said.The “immediately dangerous to life or health concentration” for Oxalic acid, according to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is 500 milligrams per cubic meter.


http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0529.html http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/144627.html