Toothpaste Producers To Label Instruction On Use

ALOR SETAR Jan 8 - The Health Ministry has instructed 14 makers of toothpaste to have the instruction on its use displayed on the packing for easy reference especially by chidlren.

''The toothpaste producers should have the instructions printed either the package or on the tube,'' the minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng told reporters after launching the Chew Kee Lin Education Fund at Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Lam Min here, last night.

He said errant producers can be prosecuted under the Drug Control Act 1984 which carries a maximum fine of RM1,000.

However, Chua said the act is being reviewed with the objective of introducing stiffer penalties for the offences.

Earlier, the National Poison Centre (NPC) at Universiti Sains Malaysia has urged the Malaysian Dental Association to have the instruction on use of the product on the toothpaste package or on the tube because excessive use of fluoride can adversely affect health.

NPC director Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said research proved that children under six years old are fond of swallowing the paste while brushing their teeth.

Dzulkifli said the effects of swallowing excessive fluoride include vomiting, swollen lips, kidney and heart attack and also diabetes.

Chua however said the fluoride content of toothpaste sold in the country is safe for children with no report received so far on its ill effects on them.

However, he said, children under three years old are not encouraged to use fluoride toothpaste for fear that they may swallow it.

They should also be taught by parents on the use of the toothpaste and on the correct way of brushing their teeth, Chua added.

Source: Utusan Express

              Jan. 9, 1998