July 12, 2007 / 12:24 AM / 11 years ago

China bans chemical in toothpaste after recalls

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned the use in toothpaste of a chemical linked to the recall of Chinese made products across the globe as it tries to reassure consumers its good are safe.

China’s quality and inspection watchdog stressed that although there was no proof long-term use of toothpaste containing diethylene glycol — an industrial solvent used in paint and antifreeze — was harmful, it was still banning its use.

“Almost all of our toothpaste manufacturers no longer use diethylene glycol as an ingredient,” it said in a statement posted on its Web site (www.aqsiq.gov.cn) late on Wednesday.

The move is to “guarantee consumers’ scientific use of toothpaste and also to avoid exporters suffering unnecessary losses,” it added.

The ban takes effect immediately.

The chemical is similar to but much cheaper than glycerine, which is widely used as a syrup in medicines and toothpaste.

This week Spain became the latest country to take Chinese-made toothpaste off the shelves for containing diethylene glycol.

The United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Panama and several other Latin American and Caribbean countries have taken similar action.

Panama says at least 100 people died after taking cough syrup which contained diethylene glycol rather than the glycerine which was supposed to have been used.

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