- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2007

BEIJING — China has banned companies from using diethylene glycol — a thickening agent used in antifreeze — in the production of toothpaste in its latest move to raise confidence in the country’s food and drug safety procedures, Xinhua news agency said today.

“China forbade domestic enterprises to use diethylene glycol as the raw materials for toothpaste as of Wednesday after a number of countries banned the selling of toothpaste containing this chemical,” Xinhua quoted the country’s safety watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Chinese-made toothpaste containing diethylene glycol has been banned in North and South America and Asia. Two brands of toothpaste sold in Spain were pulled from store shelves after the substance was found, the European Union said yesterday.

Although there have been no reports of health problems stemming from the toothpaste, dozens of people in Panama died last year after taking medicine contaminated with diethylene glycol imported from China. It was passed off as harmless glycerin.

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