Not brushing your teeth may have always been a health hazard but now brushing your teeth could be one, too if consumers ignore a "made in China" label.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers that toothpaste imported from China could contain diethylene glycol (DEG), the same substance used as a solvent in antifreeze. The Administration advises that any toothpaste with the label be thrown away because excess exposure to DEG could be harmful.
There have not yet been any reported cases of problems from Chinese-made toothpaste in the United States, but deaths and injuries have been reported in other countries as a result of consumption of DEG through cough syrups and acetaminophen syrup.
The FDA is particularly concerned that if children and those with liver disease within the U.S. consume too much of the substance, injury could result.
Brands of toothpaste from China that contain DEG are:
Cooldent Fluoride, Cooldent Spearmint, Cooldent ICE, Dr. Cool, Everfresh Toothpaste, Superdent Toothpaste, Clean Rite Toothpaste, Oralmax Extreme, Oral Bright Fresh Spearmint Flavor, Bright Max Peppermint Flavor and ShiR Fresh Mint Fluoride Paste.
Manufacturers of these toothpaste products are:
Goldcredit International Enterprises Limited, Goldcredit International Trading Company Limited and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Company Limited.
Reports from other countries such as Panama regarding DEG contamination in toothpaste manufactured in China prompted the FDA to examine toothpaste and other dental products exported to the United States. They confiscated one shipment of toothpaste at the U.S. border and tested toothpaste products from China located at a distribution center and a retail store.
This is not the first time, however, that the FDA has warned against DEG contamination in the United States. They recently warned pharmaceutical manufactures that the substance could be present in glycerin, a sweetener commonly used worldwide in liquid over-the-counter and prescription drug products.
The FDA is continuing to look for DEG in other toothpaste products and will add them to their import alerts should DEG be found. Adverse reactions or problems resulting from Chinese made toothpaste can be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm or (800) 332-1088.