Sierra Leone seizes container of banned toxic Chinese toothpaste

FREETOWN, May 9, 2008 (AFP) – Health authorities in Sierra Leone on Friday seized a container filled with banned toothpaste from China, which contained high levels of a toxic substance that could cause kidney and liver failure. Last year health authorities in several countries including the United States and Hong Kong warned against brands of Chinese low-cost toothpaste that were found to contain the poisonous chemical diethylene glycol (DEG) which can cause renal failure.

According to Bockari Pappah of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone the brands in the container seized Friday included tubes of the brands Maxam, Close-Up Gel and Arpifresh.

“Samples from the toothpaste when examined, contained a highly toxic organic substance that could cause vomiting and kidney and liver disorders,” he told AFP without identifying the substance found.

In June last year the authorities in Hong Kong recalled toothpaste of the Maxam brand because it was found to contain high levels of diethylene glycol.

The Pharmacy board inspector added that the toothpaste had been banned in Sierra Leone since March. .