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Diethylene Glycol Banned in Toothpaste
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The country's quality watchdog yesterday banned the use of diethylene glycol (DEG) - an industrial solvent used in antifreeze - in the production of toothpaste after Chinese toothpaste with the chemical grabbed global attention.

In a notice issued last night, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said all Chinese toothpaste producers should immediately stop using DEG as a raw material.

The administration also banned the import and export of toothpaste using DEG.

However, there is an exception for exports: If the DEG found in the toothpaste is not a raw material but mixed with other materials, and the concentration is lower than the limit permitted in importing countries, the green light can be given.

The notice said the ban was to prevent losses to Chinese toothpaste producers, as many countries such as the United States, Japan and Canada, have banned toothpaste containing the chemical.

However, the administration insisted that there was "no sound evidence" to prove that the DEG was dangerous in low concentrations.

"Research by Chinese doctors says toothpaste containing up to 15.6 percent of DEG has been found safe even after prolonged use," the notice said, adding that the majority of Chinese toothpaste brands have tested free of that chemical.

Chinese toothpaste first came under the international spotlight in May when thousands of made-in-China "Mr Cool" and "Excell" brand tubes were seized in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua for containing DEG ranging from 2.5 percent to 4.6 percent.

The US Food and Drug Administration last month warned consumers to avoid using toothpaste labeled as made in China, and issued an import alert to prevent toothpaste containing the DEG from entering the US.

(China Daily July 12, 2007)

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