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Colgate Total contains cancerous Triclosan, says report; Colgate & Palmolive Denies findings

Colgate Total, one of the popular toothpaste brands in the world, contains triclosan, a harmful ingredient, according to a new study by experts and  Bloomberg.com. The new revelation said the Colgate-Palmolive Company product contained triclosan, an antibacterial chemical linked to cancer and some growth-related problems in animals.

Colgate Total received the US regulator FDA nod in 1997 for Colgate Total labelling it a product for fighting cavities, plaque and gingivitis.  The evidence provided by Colgate was reportedly one-sided and the approval was duly given, without further study.

The fact came out when a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit elicited the reality in early 2014 revealing that the FDA gave the approval based on the company’s claims. The report was made public in 2014 and was re-analyzed by experts who found the toxic chemical triclosan in the tooth paste may lead to birth defects, fetal malformations, low birth weight and premature birth in animals. Its effect on humans was not ascertained.

Caren Helbing, a professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, told Bloomberg that the chemical could be a potential endocrine disruptor. Even small amounts twice a day may lead to small size at birth and abnormal legs, he told Bloomberg.

Initially, the FDA rejected the data submitted by Colgate-Palmolive about triclosan’s safety and the company conducted a new cancer study and re-submitted it in January 1997 getting the approval from the FDA.

However, in 2010, the European Union banned the chemical in products that come into direct contact with food. GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Avon Products have removed the chemical from their products, including tooth past, toys, furniture, soaps, clothing, body washes, cookware and cosmetics. A 2010 report appeared on the FDA website about the need for further study on triclosan. click below to see the study:


“Triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time. In light of questions raised by recent animal studies of triclosan, FDA is reviewing all of the available evidence on this ingredient’s safety in consumer products. FDA will communicate the findings of its review to the public in winter 2012,” said FDA on its website.

“At this time, FDA does not have evidence that triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water. Consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with triclosan should wash with regular soap and water. Consumers can check product labels to find out whether products contain triclosan,” said FDA.

Colgate, however, said its product is safe. “In the nearly 18 years that Colgate Total has been on the market in the U.S., there has been no signal of a safety issue from adverse-event reports,” Colgate spokesman Thomas DiPiazza, told Bloomberg. He said the company has been taking necessary steps to ensure the product’s safety by reviewing findings frequently.

Colgate Total, which is equally popular in India too, was introduced by Colgate initially in 1992 is now sold in 173 countries. In the US, this is the only toothpaste product that contains triclosan.

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