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Friday, June 6, 2008

Health Canada Update on Foreign Toothpaste Containing Diethylene Glycol (DEG)

OTTAWA - Further to information provided in June and July 2007, Health Canada is reminding consumers not to use foreign toothpastes that have been found to contain diethylene glycol (DEG). In addition, Health Canada is reminding Canadian retailers and consumers not to sell or purchase any unauthorized toothpaste products. Consumers are also reminded that fluoride-containing toothpastes that have been authorized for sale in Canada will contain either an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) or a Natural Product Number (NPN).

Since June 2007, there have been a number of international warnings and product recalls involving toothpastes manufactured outside of Canada that may contain DEG, an ingredient used in antifreeze and as a solvent. In 2007, Health Canada issued several public communications on those products containing DEG that were found for sale in Canada. Since then, DEG containing toothpastes have not been found for sale in Canada.

Additionally, foreign regulators have identified numerous other DEG-containing toothpastes that were not found on the Canadian market. Health Canada is advising consumers who have purchased toothpaste while travelling abroad, or who have imported toothpaste for personal use, to check the product against the most recent advisories from foreign regulators (see links below). Any products noted as posing a possible heath risk should be discarded.

The following sites from regulators in the US, New Zealand, the European Commission, and France link to updates on foreign toothpaste recalls:

  • Next link will take you to another Web site http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/toothpaste.html
  • Next link will take you to another Web site http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/hot/alerts.asp
  • Next link will take you to another Web site http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/dyna/rapex/rapex_archives_en.cfm (This site can be searched for "toothpaste" to find toothpaste recalls from several European countries)
  • Next link will take you to another Web site http://afssaps.sante.fr/htm/10/deg/liste-deg.pdf

Consumers should also be aware that the following toothpastes have been recalled abroad due to DEG content:

  • Japan: Twinkle Toothpaste, and Powdered toothpaste for Children with a taste of strawberry (Imported by Soshin); MTK Toothpaste (imported by Nihon Grande Champagne Co.); and Toothpaste (Imported by Korai).
  • US Food and Drug Administration: toothpaste labelled Colgate Toothpaste Triple, determined to be counterfeit and to possibly contain DEG.
  • UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency: toothpastes labelled Sensodyne Original and Sensodyne Mint, determined to be counterfeit and to contain DEG.
  • Hong Kong Department of Health: MAXAM Toothpaste with Fluoride, SANQI, and Tianqi toothpastes.
  • Singapore Health Sciences Authority: Hei Mei Toothpaste, Hei Mei Calcium Toothpaste, and Maxam Toothpaste with Fluoride.

These products, and the products listed on the websites above, are not authorized for sale in Canada. Public Advisories posted in June and July of 2007 warned Canadians of DEG containing toothpastes found on the market, including some of those noted above. Health Canada also took action to remove these products from the market.

DEG is a highly toxic organic solvent that may cause nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, urinary problems, kidney failure, breathing problems, lethargy, convulsions, coma, and even death when ingested. The potential health risks from chronic exposure to DEG are a particular concern in specific vulnerable populations such as children and consumers with kidney or liver disease.

Consumers who possess a toothpaste brand identified as containing DEG or who have seen these brands for sale in Canada should contact Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate at 1-800-267-9675.

To report a suspected adverse reaction to toothpaste product please contact the Canada Vigilance Program of Health Canada by one of the following methods:

Telephone: 1-866-234-2345
Facsimile: 1-866-678-6789

Canada Vigilance Program
Marketed Health Products Directorate
Ottawa, Ontario, AL 0701C
K1A 0K9

E-mail: CanadaVigilance@hc-sc.gc.ca

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