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May 3, 2012

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No Crest for toothpaste amid unfavorable online allegations

PROCTER & Gamble, the maker of Crest toothpaste, yesterday refuted online accusations saying its dental product sold in China is made of various industrial waste and has no fluoride content.

P&G said in a statement on the microblogging site that Crest products sold in China, which use fluorides to prevent cavities, are strictly tested and meet national standards.

A Hong Kong-registered netizen, identified as evayicat, said on the microblog on April 29 that one of her friends, the chief executive officer of an industrial enterprise, sent the toothpaste to his laboratory for tests and detected industrial waste but there was no sign of any fluoride ingredient.

"The family moved to Shanghai from the United States, and his daughter complained that the Crest toothpaste she used in the city had a 'different flavor,'" the woman said, explaining why the man sent it to the laboratory.

The complaint went viral online with more than 35,000 reposts and 5,000-plus comments. Some said they bought the toothpaste overseas.

A netizen, identified as baiyunfeng, said his father suffered from bleeding gums and gingivitis when he used the toothpaste sold domestically, and he learnt that different components were used in China to save cost because toothpaste prices were lower here.

P&G posted a sample of a report by the quality supervision and testing center for toothpaste and wax products of the national light industry, which showed that all Crest toothpaste items had passed tests conducted in October 2011.

National standards regulate that fluoride toothpaste used by adults should contain 0.05 percent to 0.15 percent of fluoride. According to the report provided by Crest, its toothpaste contains 0.11 percent of fluoride.

The Chinese standard for fluoride amount is the same as the European Union standard, it added.

Company staff are contacting the netizen for more information.

Wang Xing, a dentist with the Shanghai Children's Medical Center, said according to Chinese standard, fluoride can sometimes not be added if the toothpaste package doesn't mark it out. "Fluoride has been proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of dental cavities, but excessive amount of fluoride can also cause dental plaque of calcium fluoride," Wang said.

Children are not advised to use toothpaste with fluoride because they may sometimes swallow the toothpaste.

Fluoride in various forms is believed to be the most popular active ingredient in toothpaste to prevent cavities. The additional fluoride in toothpaste has beneficial effects on the formation of dental enamel and bones.

The online claim has stirred fear among some customers.

Guo Yue, who works in the communication field, said he didn't pay close attention to the brand of toothpaste in the past. "I use whatever (toothpaste) is available at home, without even checking the package, but I will now tell my family members not to buy the Crest brand until further information is released," the 28-year-old said.


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