Oxalic acid linked to milk tea deaths – PNP
MANILA, Philippines – More than a month following the death of 2 Filipinos after drinking milk tea in Manila, Philippine police crime laboratory authorities may have found the cause: oxalic acid.
“Victims of the sensational case Ergo Cha Milk Tea House food poisoning were found to be positive for Oxalic Acid,” the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a statement released Monday, May 11.
The findings were based on forensic exams performed by the PNP’s Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (READ: DOH clueless on cause of 'milk tea deaths')
According to Chief Superintendent Theresa Ann Cid, chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Suzaine Dagohoy, one of the victims, “died due to shock probably secondary to ingestion of toxic substance.”
Aside from Dagohoy, William Abrigo, the owner of Ergo Cha Milk Tea House in Manila, also died. Dagohoy and her partner, Arnold Aydalla purchased the drink at Abrigo’s milk tea shop on April 9. The couple complained about the foul taste of the drink, which Abrigo himself tasted.
Abrigo’s blood and stomach contents also tested positive for oxalic acid, according to Manila Police District chief Rolando Nana.
Nana also said the milk tea powder and syrup obtained from the shop tested positive for oxalic acid upon the examination of the CHEMPRO Analytical Services Laboratories, Inc., a private company.
Aydalla, meanwhile, was earlier diagnosed with “toxic ingestion of unkown substance,” according to his medical report from the Philippine General Hospital.
According to Cid, oxalic acid is a “poisonous, colorless substance.”
The US’s National Library of Medicine says the acid is typically found in “anti-rust products, bleaches, metal cleaners, and rhubarb leaves,” among others.
Symptoms of oxalic acid poisoning include abdominal pain, convulsions, low blood pressure, mouth pain, shock, and vomiting.
Exposure to oxalic acid causes “severe damage to the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, or airway [and] may occur and quickly cause death if not treated,” according to the National Library of Medicine.
“About 10 µg/mL (micrograms per milliliter) of oxalic acid is considered dangerous amount. The average human body contains approximately four (4) liters of blood, therefore, it will only take about 40mg of oxalic acid to poison a human body which can potentially lead to a person’s death,” said Cid. – Rappler.com
Milk tea image via Shutterstock