‘Matter of life and death’: Gas supplier warns public against fake tanks

September 11, 2020 - 6:33 PM
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Image by Denniz Futalan via Pexels

A local gas supplier recently reminded the public against a thriving market of fake and copycat liquefied petroleum gas tanks.

“While the government is doing its best to cut this activity with regulations against unlawful trade and illegal refilling of tanks, consumers need to stay vigilant against those dealers who deliberately confuse unsuspecting customers with similar-looking products,” Solane said.

LPG is a volatile, high performance fuel with a low limit for flammability, which means even small leaks from unnoticed holes in dilapidated cylinders could ignite the gas that can pose serious threats.

The brand, carried by the LPG solutions company, Isla LPG Corp., said distinguishing knock-off LPG products can be tricky but it said there are indicators to ensure the safety of consumers.It cited that one sign of illegal LPG tanks is the cylinder which is shabby, tarnished and old-looking.

“Used, scrapped tanks with broken seals are a sure sign that the store is dealing with illegal products. More than the unsightly appearance of the tanks, these kinds of cylinders pose a bigger concern in exposing buyers to potential gas leakage and explosion,” the gas supplier said.

Solane added that non-compliant containers also usually bear fake seals, incorrect labels and expired cylinder dates.

“Important markers customers can look for are the mandatory markings such as the Bureau of Philippine Standards, the required weight of the tank, and the brand of the company. Important markings as these point to the tank being thoroughly inspected and without these, it is a giveaway that the LPG is unauthorized and unsafe,” it explained.

Aside from the markings and appearance of the LPG tanks, the brand said an LPG tank’s authenticity can be determined by its weight.

“A standard Solane LPG cylinder, for example, has 11 kilograms LPG content and an empty cylinder weight should be around 13-15kgs for AS or de salpak and 11.5-14kgs for POL or de roskas,” the group said.

It explained that the weight of the empty cylinder is referred to as tare weight and this varies per cylinder as indicated in the tank’s shoulder.

The total weight of a filled cylinder should then be LPG content + tare weight. Anything under this, even a fraction, Solane said, is a sign that it is not a genuine product.

To ensure the quality of its products, the company said it performs the “Timbang Challenge” or the weighing challenge as well as a seven-point safety check free of charge when delivery LPG tanks to their consumers nationwide.

Gas leaks are still a leading cause of fire in the country, according to Solane.

The 2019 data from the Association of Safety Practitioners of the Philippines and the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) showed that exploding LPGs remains to be one of the top five causes of fires across the country.

The Central Visayas BFP 7 has reportedly recorded 130 fire incidents that were caused by explosions of LPG tanks or gas stoves last year. These figures contributed to the 1,893 fires that destroyed P257 million worth of properties in 2019. —Rosette Adel