MALOLOS CITY— About 10 million liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders circulating in the country are unsafe, a ranking official of the Department of Energy (DoE) disclosed.
Worse, about five million of said cylinders are due for scrapping, and yet many have not been returned to re-fillers. Speaking in a forum here, Engineer Alex Rayos, acting head of the DOE Retail Market Monitoring and Special Concerns Division, highlighted the need for safety in handling LPG cylinders.
But consumers’ participation in safety is required noting that one must check LPG cylinders before buying.
Rayos disclosed that five years ago an industry study showed that there were more than 12 million 11-kilogram LPG cylinders or tanks in the market.
He said that half of said number are unsafe noting that about three million are due for requalification, while another three million are due for scrapping.
“That was three years ago. Today we estimate that there are at least 20 million cylinders out there and half of them are unsafe,” Rayos said. Citing industry study three years ago, he said half of today’s unsafe cylinders of about five million are also due for scrapping.
Rayos explained that every LPG cylinder is good for 10 years, but consumers must also check the cylinders for corrosion and dents. “The birth certificate of every LPG cylinder is on its collar,” he said referring to date of manufacture of the cylinder stamped on its collar or handle.
He said that three years after manufacture, every cylinder is due for requalification which includes cleaning and checking of its valve. “This is the reason why it is important that you buy your LPG from authorized retailers of its brand owners,” Rayos said.
He further explained that after the content of the tank is used up, it is returned to the retailer, then to the dealer, and to the refilling plant which are responsible for the regular requalification of the cylinder. He said that it includes cleaning the inside of the cylinder to remove butane and propane inside.
“In colder countries, they use 100 percent propane gas, but in the Philippines, it’s a combination of butane and propane which solidify after years of use,” Rayos said.
After cleaning the cylinder, it is re-filled, checked for leaks, and sealed before distributing to dealer and retailers.
With regards to handling and conveyance of LPG cylinder, he stressed provision of their recently published circular that prohibits placing LPG cylinder sideways. “Bawal na bawal po na itutumba o ihihiga yung LPG cylinder dahil yung laman nitong liquefied gas can dissolve rubber gasket on the valve which can lead to leaks,” he said.
Rayos also noted that in transporting a number of LPG cylinder, the vehicle must be open saying that too much weight on the valve can cause leak. ”Yung valve ay design lang for gas release, hindi dapat patungan.”
For her part, Loralai Capistrano, a DOE supervising research specialist said LPG is odorless, colorless and non toxic.
However, DOE decided to use an odorant that smells like rotting cabbage in LPG to alert consumer in case of leak. Capistrano also advised consumers not to confine LPG cylinder in close spaces and always check for possible leak.