Ban on sale of oxalic acid pushed
An environmental advocacy group has once again urged the Manila City government to ban the sale in all public markets of toxic substances which could be mistaken for food or condiments.
In a statement issued recently, the EcoWaste Coalition said that oxalic acid and chlorine granules—chemicals used as alternative household bleaching agents—were still being sold in Quiapo and Divisoria.
The group added this was based on a cursory inspection of vendors’ stalls on Ilaya, Santa Elena and Tabora Streets in Divisoria, and on Evangelista Street, Paterno Street and Quezon Boulevard near Quiapo Church.
“Despite the operation conducted last month by the Manila Health Department in Divisoria that netted sacks of repacked oxalic acid, the street sale of poisonous substances in unlabeled packets has not stopped,” EcoWaste said.
According to the group, both oxalic acid and chlorine granules are sold from P10 to P80, depending on the weight or volume of the product. Both come in powder form and when packed into transparent bags, could be easily mistaken for salt or sugar.
City Health Office head Dr. Benjamin Yson, however, reiterated that the city government could limit only the unauthorized retail of the substances, stressing that an ordinance was needed to impose a ban on their sale. At present, the city bans only the sale of silver cleaners.
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