Source AP ©

American company recalls Chinese toothpaste

A U.S. company recalled toothpaste it imported from China and distributed to wholesalers, because the product may contain a poisonous chemical.

Gold City Enterprise LLC said the roughly 170,000 recalled Shir toothpaste products may contain diethylene glycol, a thickening agent used in antifreeze and as a cheaper substitute for the sweetener glycerin. No injuries or illnesses have been reported.

Consumers were asked to stop using the products and throw them away, or return them to the stores where they bought them. The company distributed the toothpaste in the South Florida area. The toothpaste brands are Shir Fresh Mint Flouride, Shir Fresh Ice Shir Mint Flouride and Shir Fresh Cool Shir Mint Flouride.

Retailers were asked to examine inventories and notify customers about the recall.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has increased its scrutiny of toothpaste made in China that contains the chemical, which can cause kidney and liver problems.

The recall follows reports of contamination in several countries, including Panama, where diethylene glycol was blamed for the deaths of 51 people after they took tainted cold medicine. China has admitted it was the source of the deadly chemical but insists it was originally labeled as for industrial use only.

Earlier this month, China's main food safety regulator said low levels of the chemical have been deemed safe for consumption.

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