Tainted toothpaste more widespread

Chinese-made toothpaste tainted with a poisonous chemical was distributed beyond discount stores, a newspaper reports.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Tainted toothpaste that entered the United States from China last month was distributed more widely than the discount stores that carried them, a newspaper reported Thursday.

About 900,000 poisonous tubes have been found in hospitals for the mentally ill, prisons, juvenile detention centers, and some hospitals serving the general public, the New York Times reported.

Most of the tainted toothpaste was handed out in dozens of state institutions in Georgia and North Carolina, where state officials said the products were being replaced with brands made outside of China, the paper said.

Hospitals in South Carolina and Florida also reported receiving toothpaste from China, according to the report.

The poisonous chemical found in the toothpaste, diethylene glycol, is used in some antifreeze products and often replaces its more expensive chemical cousin glycerin in Chinese toothpaste, the paper said.

Pharmaceutical distributor and health service company McKesson Corp. (up $0.48 to $60.62, Charts, Fortune 500) said it was recalling its EverFRESH brand after finding trace amounts of the poisonous chemical, the paper reported.

The FDA earlier this month said that counterfeit toothpaste, falsely labeled as Colgate, was found to have trace amounts of diethylene glycol, which Colgate-Palmolive (up $0.92 to $65.36, Charts, Fortune 500) and the FDA said posed a "low health risk."

(Correction: An earlier version did not clarify that the Colgate-branded toothpaste was counterfeit. CNNMoney.com regrets the error.) Top of page