Colgate in cancer fight

Perfectly safe.
Perfectly safe.

Following reports in the United States linking a key ingredient of Colgate Total with cancer, Colgate has issued a release debunking the claims. The claims come from an article in Newsweek magazine, entitled “Is Cancer Lurking in Your Toothpaste? (And Your Soap? And Your Lipstick?)”. At least when it comes to toothpaste, Colgate answers with a definite “no”.

In the Newsweek article, the journalist writes that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes consumers should think twice about using any product which contains triclosan. The article adds that “Earlier this summer, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology in America, whose mission is to prevent hospital infections, made a blunt recommendation to doctors in its guidelines for hospital hygiene: “Do not use triclosan-containing soaps.” Those guidelines also cite “concerns about the potential human and environmental impacts of this chemical” and suggest, instead, the use of alcohol-based hand rubs.”

Colgate Total toothpaste contains triclosan, and is the only toothpaste to do so. Current advice on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website states that not only is it safe, “there is clear evidence that triclosan provides a benefit. In 1997, FDA reviewed extensive effectiveness data on triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste. The evidence showed that triclosan in this product was effective in preventing gingivitis.”

The FDA adds that for other consumer products, FDA has not received evidence that the triclosan provides an extra benefit to health. At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

The organisation makes it clear on the site that “Triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans” and that “FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.”

Colgate’s release goes further, pointing out that “Colgate Total® is one of the most extensively tested and reviewed toothpastes in the world. Its safety has been reviewed and approved by the U.S. FDA, as well as other independent regulatory bodies around the world.”

The company adds that, “We continue to strongly believe in the science supporting the safe use of triclosan in Colgate Total® and constantly monitor and review new science and research as it pertains to Colgate Total® and its ingredients.

“Claims that link triclosan in cosmetic products to cancer or endocrine disruption are not true. Every regulatory agency, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and regulatory agencies around the world, that has reviewed the safety of triclosan, including as used in Colgate Total® toothpaste, has concluded based on the evidence that there is no cancer risk for human. Likewise, studies have consistently shown that there is no causal relationship between exposure to triclosan in cosmetic products and any adverse human health effects, including those that might be expected from exposure to an endocrine disruptor.

“Furthermore, in contrast to the lack of validated evidence linking animal studies to human health risks there is a wealth of scientific evidence linking Colgate Total to the prevention of gingivitis, a real and significant oral health condition for a large percentage of the population.”

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