China is stepping up controls on dental care products, state media reported last week amid international alarm over Chinese toothpaste producers’ use of a potentially toxic chemical found in antifreeze.

According to the Associated Press, countries in North and South America as well as Asia have in recent months halted imports of Chinese-made toothpaste due to its content of diethylene glycol or DEG, a low-cost and sometimes deadly substitute for glycerin. However, there have been no reports of health problems stemming from the product.

China has no guideline banning the chemical in toothpaste, and the government says it is harmless in small amounts.

A set of "strict certification and evaluation procedures" are being drawn up for oral care products by China’s Health Ministry and the China Certification and Accreditation Administration, the China News Service said, citing an announcement made during a national symposium.

A spokeswoman for the administration, which oversees the certification of Chinese products, confirmed the regulations were being drawn up and said the administration had asked for public opinions last year. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, she declined to give her name.