The top-selling toothpaste Total contains a chemical called triclosan, and its use has provoked an avalanche of discussions lately. The toothpaste that was the main subject of these debates is made by Colgate-Palmolive Co., and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 1997.
Nobody thought that things would go the way they did. This year the agency, after a lawsuit by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), released all the safety data they had regarding this item. It turned out that the data had been long hidden by the public.
The discovery was more than shocking over the past 18 years millions of people have been regularly putting a dangerous toxin in their mouth. The toxin mentioned in the lawsuit is potentially associated with high risk of cancer, endocrine disruption, infertility and other health problems.
The chemical, triclosan, is actually a pesticide. It is similar to the Agent Orange chemical weapon which was sprayed during the Vietnam War.
You can also find it as 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol. Initially, it has been used in surgical hand scrubs and other disinfectant agents. It is a derivative of 2,4-D, known as a highly toxic herbicide. This is nothing you would expect to find in your toothpaste, right?
However, Colgate still argues that the toothpaste is safe they supported their claim with more than 80 clinical studies that involved 19,000 people.
Thomas DiPiazza, the companys spokesman, pointed to an independent 2013 Cochrane study. The results of this study showed no evidence of any harmful effects associated with the use of Total.
But, over time triclosan has been gradually removed from many other personal care products. However, Total still contains it. What is even more interesting, the EU has banned the chemical and now there is no food-related product that contains it.
This step raised many questions and debates. We must mention that the FDA itself was not quite sure when it was about to approve the toothpaste as an over-the-counter drug, and there were certain concerns that the chemical could increase the risk of cancer. However, eventually Total was approved.
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