Worrying Chemical in Colgate Toothpaste

The Dominion Post

July 25, 2017

Consumer NZ is warning people to limit their use of Colgate Total toothpaste because it contains a chemical banned in some countries.

The toothpaste contains triclosan, an antibacterial chemical that used to be found in soap, toothpaste and body wash.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned products that contain any one of 19 ingredients, including triclosan, that had not been proven safe.

Triclosan is used in toothpaste as an antibacterial agent to fight diseases such as gingivitis, but Consumer NZ researcher Jessica Wilson said it was not necessary.

The chemical has been linked to changes in hormone function, liver and kidney damage, and is a suspected carcinogen.

Triclosan is permitted in cosmetic products in New Zealand at a concentration of 0.3%.

Cosmetic companies including Colgate-Palmolive said last year it had either reformulated, or was reformulating products to delete the most common of the 19 ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban.

Colgate-Palmolive spokesman Thomas DiPiazza said: “Colgate Total users can be fully confident in the safety of our toothpaste for daily use. It continues to be approved as safe and effective through a rigorous review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is approved by regulatory authorities in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.”

But Wilson said Colgate Total in New Zealand still contained the unnecessary chemical.

“Triclosan is a broad spectrum antibacterial agent in a range of products from toothpaste to paint. We’ve been concerned about it for some time because we don’t want them to be in products you have frequent contact with,” Wilson said.

But any investigation into chemicals used in products was usually a reactive approach by New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency, rather than proactive, Wilson said.

“The issue we’re seeing now is because of the possibly cumulative exposure we think there’s a need to review its use.”

In December, the EPA issued a fact sheet on triclosan that said the chemical caused harm to the environment and animals but “more data is needed to determine the scope and extent.”

Foodstuffs, which owns Pak’n Save and New World, had not made a decision to remove products from its shelves because of the proactive response from its suppliers.

Countdown spokeswoman Kate Porter said the supermarket chain decided to remove triclosan from its own brand products a while ago.

Original headline: Worrying chemical in toothpaste: watchdog

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