ATLANTA – The state of Georgia has pulled more than 860,000 tubes of Chinese-made toothpaste containing potentially lethal chemicals from prisons holding adult and youth inmates, and hospitals housing the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.
None of the three state agencies using the 1.5-ounce tubes of the “Springfresh” brand containing diethylene glycol – a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze and as a solvent – are reporting illnesses resulting from its use. State purchasing officials said Friday it has been contracting with American Amenities, in Woodinville, since 2002, but were unsure how long the Chinese toothpaste has been used.
Almost 6,000 144-tube cases have been removed from use by the state Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Human Resources, said Rick Beal of the Georgia Department of Administrative Services’ state purchasing division.
Corrections, which holds more than 53,000 inmates in prisons throughout the state, had 5,877 cases, Beal said. Juvenile Justice, which holds about 2,500 minors sentenced to confinement, had 25 cases at regional youth detention centers. Department of Human Resources hospitals housing mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients in Atlanta, Columbus, Milledgeville, Rome and Savannah had about 88 cases.
Corrections spokesman Paul Czachowski said the agency collected the toothpaste June 11 after notification from the Department of Administrative Services.
“No one got sick and we are working on getting another toothpaste from the vendor,” Czachowski said via e-mail Friday.
Beal said the toothpaste has been “collected up, segregated … do not use, do not touch.” Beal said he and other agency officials have been working with the Food and Drug Administration to determine how to dispose of the toothpaste.