Group urges Manila LGU to ban street sale of deadly oxalic acid

Health Secretary Janette Garin (right) talks to the media along with toxicologists from government hospitals, Dr. Visitacion Antonio (center) and Dr. Benjamin Yson, on Monday. The officials assured the public on the safety of milk teas and that the poisoning incident is an isolated case.(MNS photo)

Health Secretary Janette Garin (right) talks to the media along with toxicologists from government hospitals, Dr. Visitacion Antonio (center) and Dr. Benjamin Yson, on Monday. The officials assured the public on the safety of milk teas and that the poisoning incident is an isolated case. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Following the deaths of two people found to have drunk milk tea with oxalic acid, a group urged the Manila City government on Tuesday to ban the sale of the toxic substance in the streets.

EcoWaste Coalition urged authorities in Manila to stop the sale of the oxalic acid, saying “the white oxalic powdery substance looks similar to iodized salt or refined sugar that food preparers can use by mistake, especially if improperly stored,” said coordinator Anthony Dizon.

He added oxalic acid is allowed for industrial applications and should not be sold to unauthorized users “and much more sold on the streets by ambulant vendors.”

Investigators had found oxalic acid likely caused the death of milk tea shop owner of William Abrigo and customer Suzaine Dagohoy last April 9.

EcoWaste Coalition said oxalic powder is sold along Ylaya Street in Divisoria for less than P100 a kilo.

It added the product is sold in clear plastic bags with the label “oxalic” written by hand, and comes “without any precautionary warning information.”

Dizon noted two pupils of Larion Bajo Elementary School in Tuguegarao City were killed and 44 others were hospitalized due to oxalic-related food poisoning in 2011.

The group said oxalic acid is corrosive to the human body and may be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. (MNS)

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