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China investigating toothpaste containing potentially deadly chemical

China investigating toothpaste containing potentially deadly chemical

The maker of a Chinese toothpaste found to contain a potentially deadly chemical said Tuesday he was under investigation, but claimed his product was safe.
Chen Yaozu, general manager of Danyang Chengshi Household Chemical Co., said his company had exported toothpaste to Panama containing diethylene glycol, a chemical blamed for the deaths of at least 51 people in the Central American country last year after it was mixed into cough syrup.
However, Chen said the chemical, a thickening agent often used as a low-cost substitute for glycerin, was permitted under Chinese rules and was safe in small amounts.
"I can say I am very confident about our product's quality," Chen said in a telephone interview from his company's headquarters in the eastern province of Jiangsu. He said company managers were cooperating with investigators.
The safety of Chinese food and pharmaceutical exports has come into question in recent months amid allegations that tainted ingredients from local suppliers ended up in products blamed for the deaths in Panama and for killing pets in North America.
That has put export markets worth about US$30 billion (