Selective Imports, a Los Angeles company that imported 80,000 tubes of toxic toothpaste from China, has pleaded no contest in court and agreed to pay $33,000 in fines to a local charity, according to this news report. The poisonous toothpaste, which was made in China, was apparently sold in the United States as Cooldent. The contaminated Cooldent toothpaste contained diethylene glycol (DEG), which is commonly used to make brake fluid and antifreeze. It is a known liver and kidney toxin. The company continued to sell the toxic toothpaste even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had issued a product recall warning consumers about this dangerous and toxic toothpaste product.
The biggest concern is that a majority of the 80,000 tubes of the toothpaste remains unaccounted even as the recall remains in effect. A recent investigation by Channel 10 revealed that the toothpaste was on sale and on shelves in three stores in California. Owners apparently were not aware of the recall. Selective Imports pleaded no contest to selling an adulterated drug product and will be placed on three years probation.
The company sold the toothpaste to distributors nationwide between December 2005 and May 2007. Some of the toothpaste contained DEG levels at double the amount permitted in the United States. This proves to be a greater hazard especially for children, who tend to swallow toothpaste. DEG is a thickening agent used as a cheap sweetener for products. Recently DEG-tainted cough syrup was linked to 94 deaths in Panama.
The fine that this distributor is paying is negligible compared to the damage and heartache their poisonous products could cause consumers. It is not known at this point if this toxic toothpaste severely injured or killed any children or adults in the United States. So far, FDA has not received any such reports.
It is in their best interest of anyone who believes they have suffered serious health consequences as a result of ingesting this toothpaste to contact an established product defect law firm that will help determine the facts and hold wrongdoers responsible for the damages and loss.