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Bawal ‘yan! Erap goes after shops selling cyanide-containing silver cleaners

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Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada today ordered the City Health Office (CHO) to launch a crackdown against local jewelry shops that are selling silver jewelry cleaners containing the deadly cyanide compound.

Estrada issued the order after the EcoWaste Coalition urged mayors and local health and police chiefs to crack down on vendors of silver jewelry cleaners.

City Ordinance No. 8178 passed in 2008 prohibits the retail of all metal and jewelry cleaners containing cyanide. Violators are fined P5,000 or a one-year imprisonment.

“We will enforce the city ordinance against the selling of these cyanide-containing silver cleaners, and the silver polish itself, we will get rid of it immediately. This product is lethal,” Estrada said.

On August 20, the group conducted a “test buy” and managed to purchase silver cleaning products in a shopping mall in Quiapo, in a beads and accessories store in Villalobos Street, and in another silver jewelry store in Carriedo Street, proving that such harmful merchandise is still being openly sold despite government regulations against it.

Estrada directed City Health Officer Dr. Benjamin Yson to coordinate with the Manila Police District (MPD) in conducting surprise raids against the erring business establishments selling unregistered silver cleaners.

“We will continuously monitor these stores to make sure that silver cleaners are not sold for household use. It’s supposed to be for limited industrial use only. Violators will be duly penalized,” Estrada warned.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the presence of cyanide in the silver cleaning products could pose imminent risks leading to serious poisoning or death.
“I urge jewelry buyers to be vigilant and make sure to check the product details, if you were offered this product, inform us immediately so that these sellers will be apprehended,” Yson, for his part, said.

He pointed put that cyanide can be easily absorbed by the body, making it more critical to people who have touched, used, or inhaled it.