In Panama, at least 94 people have died from a medicine that was contaminated with a toxic chemical, and there are 293 more deaths that are suspected to have occurred because of the toxin. The chemical found in the drug was diethylene glycol, which is commonly used in antifreeze and brake fluid. The chemical was found in cough syrup, antihistamine tablets, calamine lotion, and rash ointment produced in a Panama laboratory.
The chemical was made by a Chinese company who tried to pass the toxin off as 99.5% pure glycerin, which is a sweetener commonly used in medicine and drugs. The chemical was eventually sold to government laboratory in Panama after it passed through several hands. Panama officials have exhumed some of the bodies of victims and have confirmed that it was the chemical that killed them. Three members of Panama’s Medicom SA have been charged with crimes against public health due to the deaths from the chemical.
The same chemical was found in toothpaste sold in retail shops in Miami and Puerto Rico, which was imported from China. These are not the only incidences of Chinese products that contain toxic chemicals or have other problems. Recently, there have been recalls on Chinese made pet food, Thomas & Friends toy trains, tires, and now there are regulations on shipments of Chinese seafood.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.