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
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
However, the administration insisted that there was "no sound
evidence" to prove that the DEG was dangerous in low
"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
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
(China Daily July 12, 2007)