IT'S good that there is a crackdown on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-refilled butane canisters as time and again, it has been proven, that these are not safe. In fact, it has endangered lives several times already when such canister exploded and caused fire in a community.
First, that butane canisters are designed for single use only, and recycling is only to recover the material and not for re-use.
Second, refilling these canisters is not legal, ergo, the refillers are just going by "mata-mata" or estimation of how much goes into what. Are the refillers even measuring the internal pressure or are they going by the volume? We're pretty sure, they are going by the volume. Meaning, the property of the canister and the pressure exerted by the gas inside is not part of the computation. This makes it prone to leaks and explosion.
Third, canisters come as a single-use container and are designed for specific mix of gases. Meaning, whatever brand that canister came originally is for the mix of that brand. Even if the gas being used is of the same mix as the one that the canister came with originally, the ratio of each gas comprising the LPG will result to a different vapor pressure.
Now, these canisters in their original brands and mix are designed to withstand the strength of the canister.
What really comprises our LPGs? It's not in Google, but the Department of Energy has said that our standard LPG has a higher pressure than butane. That alone makes the container unfit to hold the LPG, much more as a refill.
The dangers all laid out, there is the one basic argument against refilled butane cans. It is illegal.
Under Department of Energy Circular No. 2014-01-0001 providing for the rules and regulations governing the LPG industry, refilling and sale of single-trip and/or tin canister and cartridge is prohibited and is punishable with "a fine of P10,000 for every prohibited act or P5,000 per cylinder, whichever is higher.”
The Davao City Business Bureau has reported having confiscated almost 4,000 canisters from the Bankerohan Market and the checkpoints in Sirawan and Bunawan. At P5,000 per canister, that's P20,000,000 fine, just like that.
All that is needed is to implement the law.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 18, 2017.
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