Kids! Don’t Brush Your Teeth!

June 1, 2007 · Print This Article · Email This Post

TeethWell, you knew that was too good to be true! Just don’t brush your teeth with Chinese toothpaste, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned today because some of it contains DEG (diethylene glycol), a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze and as a solvent.

According to Deborah M. Autor, director of the FDA’s Office of Compliance, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “The companies will have to prove that their products don’t contain harmful levels of DEG…before it [sic] is allowed into the United States.” How about no DEG in toothpaste? Would that be too much to ask?

Autor said there haven’t been any reports of poisoning from Chinese toothpastes; however, the FDA is concerned about chronic exposure to DEG, especially in children and people with liver or kidney disease. The FDA began its investigation after finding that DEG-contaminated toothpaste had been sold in Panama, and cold medicine with DEG in it was also found in Panama and reportedly killed at least 100 people there in 2006. DEG can be used as a glycerin substitute and as thickener, which is probably how it was used in cold medicine/cough syrups. One hundred people dying from DEG-laced cough syrup doesn’t cause a stir? Oh, that’s right, they weren’t Americans! What were we thinking?

The Chinese toothpastes are mostly sold in discount stores, and the FDA seized DEG-tainted toothpaste at a DollarPlus store in Miami, Florida, from a Todo store in Puerto Rico, in a shipment awaiting importation at the U.S. border and at a distribution center. The FDA recommends throwing out any toothpaste made in China (no kidding!) and the brands known to be involved so far include 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. However, reading the label is probably your best defense.

While you’re at it, ask Mom about that “Product of China” fish at Walmart. We’ve been wondering about that for awhile, especially considering that less than one percent of fish imported into the states is actually inspected. Russian roulette, anyone?

Here, while you’re waiting for Mom to find you some toothpaste that won’t cause kidney failure or liver failure, have a laugh with Toothbrush Man, courtesy of Ken Shimura’s Bakatono comedy show.

It gets worse! Read about bogus HIV and pregnancy tests, made in China.

Copyright ©2007


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