A report released by the FDA has shed some light on a very disturbing ingredient in one of our favorite toothpastes. The report has found that Triclosan, one of the ingredients in Total toothpaste from the Colgate-Palmolive company, has been linked to cancer cell growth and potential developmental problems in rodents that the ingredient affected.
Bloomberg ran a story this morning outlining the process that allowed the product to become approved and make its way to market in 1997. The 35 page report that played a big part in getting the toothpaste approved as an over the counter drug by the FDA, determined that the ill effects of the ingredient were inconclusive. To make matters worse, this report only recently became available, allowing for decades of use by the public of a potential cancer causing agent.
The biggest issue with the evaluation process from 1997 is that the FDA used recommendation from a Colgate funded study. As is the case with many studies of this kind, the results were not conclusive, and were friendlier for the bottom line than they may have been for potential consumers.
Triclosan has been under scrutiny for its safety and potential negative effects for some time. Colgate removed the chemical from its Softsoap and Palmolive products years ago. It seems like a product used in the mouth of millions of consumers on a daily basis would have had the product removed as well.
The chemical has already been banned in some areas. The state of Minnesota voted to ban the use of Triclosan in many products in May of this year. Now that this new development on the chemical and Total toothpaste has been brought to light, more bans and a recall from Colgate may be some of the next steps. Until then, it might be worth putting in a few humorous calls to Colgate (warning for language in link).