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China bans diethylene glycol as toothpaste ingredient
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08:08, July 12, 2007

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China has forbidden domestic enterprises from using diethylene glycol as an ingredient in toothpaste after a number of countries banned the sale of toothpaste containing this chemical, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Imports and exports of toothpastes containing this substance known as DEG are banned starting Wednesday.

In exceptional cases where the chemical finds its way into toothpaste mixed up with other ingredients, quantities must not exceed limits set by importing countries or regions.

Most Chinese toothpaste firms have abandoned DEG as a production raw material.

The administration maintained that toothpaste containing DEG would not jeopardize the health of consumers.

Citing a report by experts from the Ministry of Health, the administration said the long-term use of toothpaste in which the DEG content was less than 15.6 percent would have no adverse affect on people's health. None of the data suggested that toothpaste containing this substance had directly led to the human poisonings.

Recent random inspections by domestic quality authorities found most domestically made toothpaste contained no such substance. The quantities of DEG in the few detected were less than 10 percent, it said.

There is no definite criterion or quality limits on the use of DEG in toothpastes across the world, but the United States, Japan and Canada have all recently banned the selling of toothpaste containing this substance.

The deaths of dozens of people in Panama who took medicine containing diethylene glycol imported from China sparked fears abroad about China-made products. The chemical -- often used in antifreeze -- was used as a sweetener in toothpaste.

The safety of Chinese food and drug products has been in the news lately. Former director of China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed on Tuesday for taking bribes worth more than 6.49 million yuan (about 850,000 U.S. dollars) and dereliction of duty.

The consequences of Zheng's dereliction of duty have proved extremely serious. Six types of medicine approved by the administration during that period were fake. Some pharmaceutical companies used false documents to apply for approvals.

On Monday, China's quality supervision authorities blacklisted 14 companies for planning to export substandard food products and banned them from further exports.

A total of 34,400 cases of fake and low-quality food have been cracked by China's industrial and commercial authorities in the first half of this year, involving goods worth 67.7 million yuan (8.9 million U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua

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