Possibly Tainted Toothpaste Found in Massachusetts Stores

The concern about tainted toothpaste imported from China has spread to Massachusetts, where public health officials issued a consumer warning after suspect products were found in stores in nearly a dozen communities.

Officials urged consumers to avoid any toothpaste labeled "Made in China," any toothpaste labeled "Colgate" that is manufactured in South Africa and any toothpaste without English language labeling.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said toothpaste from China and counterfeit Colgate toothpaste may contain diethylene glycol (DEG), a chemical used in antifreeze.

Massachusetts was not initially listed as a state where higher volumes of the product were found. But officials said Thursday that suspect products continue to be found, particularly in small, independent discount stores.

The state Department of Public Health said toothpaste with this suspect labeling has been found in Boston, Arlington, Dedham, Amherst, Malden, Lowell, Wellesley, West Springfield, Somerville, Lawrence and Sturbridge.

Neither the state nor the FDA is aware of any reports of poisonings from toothpaste containing DEG in Massachusetts or nationally, but health officials are concerned about potential risks from long-term use.

The bacteria could pose a significant health risk, especially to children and anyone with a weakened immune system.

The FDA and New York-based Colgate-Palmolive Co. have said the products are fake, citing in part misspellings on the packaging, such as "SOUTH AFRLCA." Its true origin is unknown, according to the FDA.