Terra Sigillata

I seem to have missed this NYT article over last weekend. Following from the continuing appearance of diethylene glycol in glycerin imported from China, yet another consumer product is found to be adulterated, again in Panama:

Diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said yesterday that the product appeared to have originated in China.

This just goes to show that any product containing glycerin, from cough syrup to toothpaste, runs the risk of containing the cheap substitute, diethylene glycol.


  1. #1 DuWayne
    May 25, 2007

    I just find it incomprehensible that people care so little, that they would happily risk the lives of others, for a few dollars. At least, it was apparently listed as an ingredient, on the toothpaste, rather than being suruptitiously slipped in, as it was in the cough syrup. But I still can’t understand how people that do this sort of thing can sleep at night. I can only assume that they are absolute sociopaths.

    It reminds me of having a business lunch I had with a contractor that my old company did a lot of work for, several years ago. I was running the job and there were some quirks that needed to be worked out (I was a roofer). We got our business settled and were just finishing our lunches with some casual b.s. when we overheard a contractor at another table complaining about his liability rates going up again. The contractor I was dealing with jumped in with the comment that he had high hopes that our new president would “do something about that and hopefully gut OSHA along the way.” After I responded that I would prefer not to see a return to the days when construction jobs were, in part, measured in fatal accidents, he responded, “it would certainly help open up the job market.” It is a measure of how good the company that I worked for is, that he still tried to hire us for more jobs, even after I went balistic on him. It’s a measure of my bosses ethics, that after we had cleared the current contracts with him, we never set foot on another one of his jobs.

    Maybe I am hopelessly naive, but I just can’t comprehend putting profits – small ones at that – over human lives.

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