Read Your Toothpaste Carefully

June 15, 2007

Next time you brush your teeth, check for spelling errors on your toothpaste. It could save your life.

Colgate-Palmolive (nyse: CL – news – people ) warned Thursday that counterfeit Colgate toothpaste containing a deadly chemical is being sold at dollar stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The knockoffs contain diethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze.

Counterfeiters frequently use the sweet-tasting chemical as a substitute for safe, but more expensive, chemical syrups. Diethylene glycol has been found in toothpaste, cough syrup and other consumable medications recently.

So how can one tell if the tube in the medicine cabinet is poison? Check the spelling. The fakes have a number of errors including “isclinically,” “SOUTH AFRLCA” and “South African Dental Assoxiation.”

Also check the country of origin. The spurious Colgates have reportly been manufactured in South Africa. Colgate does not import any toothpaste from there.

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