Quezon City. The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition is reminding online shoppers to shun unregistered silver jewelry cleaners (SJCs) as these products may contain chemical ingredients that are poisonous to humans and also to marine life.
Based on the monitoring conducted by the group today, third party online sellers continue to offer for sale unregistered SJCs, including Silver Sparkle, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned in 2016 after testing positive for cyanide, a fast-acting lethal poison that is highly toxic to people and aquatic animals.
According to the FDA, “cyanide is a highly toxic chemical which may be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or ingested (accidental or deliberate) even at small doses/concentrations.” It warned that “exposure to cyanide may bring about any of the following signs and symptoms within minutes – dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, restlessness and weakness or may lead to respiratory failure, loss of consciousness and possibly death, among others.”
The EcoWaste Coalition is therefore advising consumers to heed the safety tips provided by the FDA through Advisory No. 2016-088:
- Avoid buying SJCs without usage instructions in English and/or Philippine dialects.
- Read the product label carefully, which should include the following information:
- Name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or seller;
- Common or usual name of the chemical/s used.
- Signal word “POISON” and the skull and crossbones symbol for any highly toxic substance.
- Signal word “DANGER” on substances that are extremely flammable, corrosive or highly toxic.
- Signal word “WARNING” or “CAUTION” on all other hazardous substances.
- Word to describe hazard/s such as “FLAMMABLE,” “VAPOR HARMFUL,” “CAUSING BURNS,” and “HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED.”
- Precautionary statements such as “do not take internally,” “avoid breathing dust (or vapor),” “avoid contact with eyes and prolonged skin contact,” and “use only in a well-ventilated area.”
- Instructions for handling and storage such as “keep away from heat” and “keep out of reach of children.”
- First aid treatment supplemented with the statement “call a physician immediately.”
To protect consumers, the EcoWaste Coalition urged online shopping platforms to take down product listings for cyanide-containing Silver Sparkle and to require SJC sellers to obtain from their suppliers a certificate of “no cyanide content,” which should also be properly posted for the information of buyers.
FDA Advisory No. 2021-0879 reaffirmed the ban on the manufacture, distribution, importation, and sale of cyanide-containing SJCs, as well as the ban on their promotion and sale in online marketplaces. “Always check if a product is registered with the FDA by using the FDA Verification Portal (https://verification.fda.gov.ph/Home.php),” the agency said. Prior to this, the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources released a Joint Advisory in 2010 banning SJCs containing cyanide and other toxic substances.
Aside from the banned Silver Sparkle, the EcoWaste Coalition found numerous listings for SJCs not registered with the FDA, including products that are shipped from China to the Philippines.