The toothpaste involved in the recent recall contained diethylene glycol, a toxic substance found in antifreeze. China, in a bid to clean up their image before the 2008 Olympics, has banned the use of the substance in toothpaste.
Late Wednesday, China banned toothpaste manufacturers from using diethylene glycol, or DEG — which can cause kidney failure, paralysis and death, but has been used as a low-cost substitute for harmless glycerin, a sweetener in many drugs.
Chinese-made toothpaste containing DEG has been yanked from sale in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
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 DEG imported from China and passed off as glycerin.
China mantains that DEG is safe in the amounts found in the toothpaste and will not harm the people that have used it. Most toothpaste manufacturers in China had stopped using the toxic substance after the recall.