Indy company launches global toothpaste recall

GilChrist & Soames, an Indianapolis company that supplies toothpaste to hotels across the globe, has started recalling toothpaste made in China because samples were found to be contaminated with diethylene glycol.

The chemical is used as a coolant, and in cork, printing ink and other products, and has been involved in several mass poisonings.

The Food and Drug Administration on June 1 issued new guidelines for levels of the chemical, and GilChrist & Soames then launched a series of tests, said company spokeswoman Cindy Duran.

A fifth battery of tests discovered the chemical in some samples at levels exceeding the guidelines. Distributors were asked in June to stop shipping the toothpaste, Duran said; today’s announcement was an attempt to round up any remaining tubes.

GilChrist & Soames is asking that hotels in the United States and several other countries destroy remaining inventory. Hotel guests also are asked to throw away any of the toothpaste they received.

The company said the FDA is unaware of any poisonings, but is concerned that chronic exposure to the toothpaste or exposure in children and people with kidney and liver diseases could cause injury.

The toothpaste was manufactured by Ming Fai Enterprises International Co. Ltd. of China. It is thought that the diethylene glycol was included in shipments of glycerine, a legal component in toothpaste.

GilChrist & Soames has been owned by E&A Industries Inc. since 1998. E&A is an Indianapolis company owned in part by Indianapolis businessman Al Hubbard, now director of the National Economic Council.

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