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Staff Writer

TOWNSEND — Discount shoppers may want to check their toothpaste before brushing.

Posted on the bulletin board entering Memorial Hall is a notice from the Townsend Board of Health, warning about toothpaste containing a possibly toxic chemical.

“This isn’t something we usually do,” said Board of Health administrative assistant Kathleen Spofford about the notice. “We typically get all kinds of stuff from the Nashoba Board of Health.”

Spofford said the notice had stood out to her as unusually worrisome because of its possibly toxic information.

“It’s something people should be aware of,” said Spofford.

The posted notice warns that the U.S. Food and Dug Administration discovered that certain toothpastes found in discount stores contain a toxic chemical called diethylene glycol.

“The chemical, which is commonly found in antifreeze, is sometimes used illegally as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent,” read the notice.

While there were no U.S. reports of poisoning from the toothpaste, its usage could have severe negative health consequences.

Consumers can identify toothpaste containing the illegal sweetener by looking at the product packaging.

Any “Colgate” toothpaste labeled “Made in China” should be discarded.

The fraudulent toothpaste comes labeled as a 5 ounce or 100 ml tube, a size not made or sold by Colgate in the United States.

The words on the packaging can be used to further confirm the fraudulent product. Labels that read “Manufactured in South Africa” is a telltale sign, since Colgate does not import toothpaste into the U.S. from South Africa.

There may also be several misspelled words on the product carton including: “isclinically,” “SOUTH AFRLCA,” and “South African Dental Assoxiation.”

Nashoba Associated Boards of Health district sanitarian and food service inspector Bridgette Braley said she wasn’t aware of the recalled toothpaste being found in the Townsend area.

“There were a couple of stores in Massachusetts that had it, but none in the local area,” said Braley.

As for any local resident whos finds the toothpaste, Spofford suggests contacting the Townsend Board of Health at (978) 597-1713.

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