Public warned of contaminated cement
A multisectoral body has raised the alarm over some 150,000 bags of cement that are reportedly being sold in the market today, saying these might be contaminated and substandard and could pose imminent danger to the public if used for construction.
The National Consumer Affairs Council (NCAC), led by its chair, Jose Paredes Pepito, claimed these bags were contaminated by seawater after a ship from Vietnam had a leak that affected 6,000 metric tons of the cement it was carrying.
The 6,000 tons of cement, equivalent to 150,000 40-kilogram bags, no longer meet Philippine safety standards, NCAC said in a statement on Friday.
NCAC alleged that some of the wet cement were re-bagged for the purpose of selling it in the local market. The imported cement is part of a 25,000-metric ton shipment of Halong brand cement which was unloaded in La Union in March this year.
According to Pepito, the re-bagged cement can now be considered substandard and, if used for construction, can endanger people’s lives. Having been contaminated by seawater, the physical and the chemical properties of this particular batch of cement will no longer comply with the required standards of cement that is safe to use in construction projects.
The re-bagging procedure involved shoveling the cement from the warehouse floor which had particles that could degrade product quality and result in a concrete mix that could easily crumble, Pepito said.
“The re-bagged cement may be undistinguishable from regular cement that is sold in hardware stores. Re-bagged cement should not be sold unless first tested by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),” Pepito said. “Unfortunately, the DTI does not know the location of the 150,000 bags at this point. In the meantime, the public should be very careful when choosing the cement products that they buy in the local market.”
NCAC, a multisectoral body ratified as part of Republic Act 7394 (The Consumer Act), is composed of representatives from the government and non-government agencies including the DTI, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Philippine business sector, and civil society.
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