No tainted paracetamol found in Netherlands samples
A sample test of 11 popular brands of paracetamol available to buy at supermarkets and pharmacies in the Netherlands found that all of them are safe to use. Television program Zembla and newspaper NRC had them tested by a lab in Belgium after their previous research showed that the largest producer of paracetamol, China's Anqiu Lu’an Pharmaceutical, sold raw materials for the drug that were tainted with carcinogenic 4-chloroaniline (PCA).
The contaminated raw material was created in the spring of 2019 and were enough for some 36 million pills, NRC reports. Where these pills ended up is not clear, but it is known that the Chinese factory also delivered raw materials to the Netherlands over the past years.
NRC and Zembla therefore asked a laboratory in Belgium to test the house brand paracetamol of Albert Heijn, Kruidvat, Jumbo, Etos and Trekpleister, as well as pills from Panadol, Livsane and Sanias. None of these pills were contaminated with PCA.
"The fact that there is no PCA in these batches is favorable news," Martin van den Berg, professor of toxicology at Utrecht University, said to NRC. "But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't keep checking for the PCA content in paracetamol. Because next time it may be different."
Van den Berg called for paracetamol to be tested for PCA routinely. "I advocate that the pharmaceutical industry carries out a routine analysis with every batch and reports to the authorities. Because it is a substance that we must ensure stays below the standard." PCA can cause cancer and can affect human DNA.