Toxics Watchdog Cautions Cyclists against Hazardous Substance in Glue for Tire Repair

A watchdog group on toxic chemicals, products and wastes today alerted cyclists against using a glue for tire puncture repair that contains 1,2- dichloroethane.

The EcoWaste Coalition sounded the alarm after the government of Spain ordered the withdrawal from the market of a bicycle tire repair kit that includes “Red Sun” glue for containing 1,2- dichloroethane, a cancer-causing substance.

Citing information from the European Union’s Rapid Alert System that was published last Friday, the group said “the glue contains 1,2-dichloroethane (measured value: 49%), (which) is carcinogenic and toxic if inhaled or if they get in contact with the skin.”

On Saturday, the group went to bicycle stores along Quezon Blvd., Quiapo, Manila and bought a tire repair kit containing patches and an 8cc  “Red Sun” glue.  It is sold for P75 per kit with five patches.

“The glue may appear harmless but patiently reading the cautionary text written in tiny print will tell you how harmful its content is,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Dizon cited the following cautionary text as written on the tube:  1) “Harmful vapor – can be fatal if it’s swallowed”; 2) “Extremely flammable – contains distillated petroleum”; and 3) “Use under well ventilated conditions.”

“Aside from the word ‘danger’ in capital letters, the glue also carries the flame pictogram indicating that it has a flammable chemical that can easily catch fire and burn, as well as the skull and crossbones symbol warning that it is poisonous,” he pointed out.

According to the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 1,2-dichloroethane “is a central nervous system depressant that produces symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, headache, lightheadedness, and weakness to stupor, disequilibrium, coma and respiratory arrest.”

In terms of carcinogenicity, “the DHHS has determined that 1,2-dichloroethane may reasonably be expected to cause cancer,” while the International Agency for Research on Cancer  has determined that it “can possibly cause cancer in humans.”

“As many scientists think there is no such thing as ‘safe level of exposure’ to a cancer-causing substance, we advise cyclists to be extra cautious and choose patch kit with safer glue,” Dizon said.

“We further advise everyone to make it a habit to read the fine print. We have the right to know and be protected against harm,” he added.