Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hotel-Distributed Toothpaste Recalled

A chemical that thickens antifreeze has turned up again in a Chinese-made toothpaste, this time under a brand that serves luxury hotels around the world.

Gilchrist & Soames said on Monday it is recalling its 18g tubes of complimentary toothpaste with the company name on it. The company said some samples showed the toothpaste contained diethylene glycol, a chemical that can lead to liver and kidney damage.

It was the latest in a series of recalls of Chinese-made goods – toothpaste, children's toys, tires and pet food – because of manufacturing methods that many say are shoddy or dangerous.

In June, the US Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to avoid several brands of toothpaste made in China because the products may contain diethylene glycol.

Chinese manufacturers have used the chemical, known as DEG, as a cheaper alternative to glycerin, an ingredient that thickens toothpaste, said Mengshi Lin, a University of Missouri food scientist.

“The two chemicals, actually, are pretty similar,” he said. “They are like cousins to each other.”

Diethylene glycol, however, can cause kidney and liver damage if someone is exposed to it over time. Low levels of it do not harm humans, Lin said.

The FDA allows only trace amounts of DEG in toothpaste. The Chinese government announced last month that it was banning DEG from toothpaste, Lin said.

China is also shutting down a chemical plant linked to dozens of deaths in Panama from tainted medicine, and it closed two companies tied to pet deaths in North America.

Source : STAR
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