December 25, 2014– A chemical used in Colgate Totalcalled Triclosan is found to cause cancer (carcinogenic) andmiscarriage, as well as neurological damage in mice. Further studies found that, in animals, triclosan can alter thefunctioning of the liver, kidney, thymus gland, thyroid, and causes impaired estrogenic or androgenic activity. Colgaterejected the supposed risks, and claims Colgate Total contains only 0.3% triclosan, thus it is safe.
Colgate Total was launched in 1992, and has been used innearly 100 countries worldwide. It was approved by US Foodand Drug Administration in 1997. But since 2010 it is withdrawn from the market in Europe, unlike in the United States where the findings are declared controversial by the authorities, making the carcinogenic chemical freely produced, sold and used by many industries.
Triclosan is a synthetic chemical manufactured and used for over 30 years as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-scale and preservatives by many industries. It is included in the Colgate Total to protect the gums against diseases, according to the manufacturer. But some Canadian scientists fear that, as the use of triclosan persists, in addition to cancer and organ damage, bacteria can develop resistance to it, pass their resistance to other bacteria and then develop resistance to multiple antibiotics.
Why Triclosan is still used legally in the USA, you may ask?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that triclosan is included in many products to prevent or reduce bacterial contamination. The agency declares that that the growth of cancer cells in animals due to triclosan does not necessary produce the same results in humans.
However, numerous scientific studies have proven that there is no safety and harmlessness of this substance for the environment and human beings. Research has shown triclosan can disruptthyroid function in humans. In addition, it degrades into toxic, carcinogenic, and persistentbioaccumulative compounds in human and animal organism.
Products Containing Triclosan In Addition to Colgate Total
Triclosan is a serious concern for the environment and health, and Colgate Total is not the only product commonly used at home that contains it. In fact, in some places, the chemical is foundin rivers and lakes, given wastewater treatment systems partially remove it. Some other products that may contain triclosan include:
- Medical equipment
- Computer Keyboards
- Acne Products
- First aid products
- Oral care: toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrush handles
- Skin care: Soap, lotion, shaving cream, deodorant
- Cleaning: sponges, clean up towels
- Socks and sportswear
- Plastic equipment: kitchen utensils, cutting boards, garbage bags, bin, shower curtains, air filters.
Is Triclosan a Danger for the US Population?
Individuals can absorb triclosan by the skin, mouth and intestines or inhalation. Triclosan can migrate from a plastic surface to food. When penetrating the skin, the chemical is suspected of interfering with the hormone system causing endocrine disruption. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) conducted a study to assess exposure to triclosan in the U.S. general population from the 2003–2004, triclosan was found in the urine of nearly 75% of the samples collected from 2,517 participants aged 6 years or more.
Other Names for Triclosan
Avoiding using triclosan without a legal recommendation from the authorities to ban its use can be difficult. It is sometimes identified by different chemical or trade names, which vary from one manufacturer/industry to another. Some of the trade names used include: Cloxifenolum, Irgasan, Lexol 300 Aquasept, Gamophen, TCL, and others.
Is Triclosan a Danger for the Environment?
Once introduced into the environment, triclosan chemically reacts and creates dioxins, bioaccumulative and toxic substances. In fact, the European Union (EU) has classified triclosanas irritating to skin and eyes, and describes it as very toxic to aquatic organisms, given the long-term harmful effects it can have on the aquatic ecosystems. Canada did the same, classifying triclosan as inherently and persistently toxic to aquatic organisms.
(1) Calafat, A., «Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003-2004», Environmental Health Perspectives 116, no. 3 (mars 2008): 303-307.
(2) Gee, RH et al., «Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells», Journal of Applied Toxicology 28, no. 1 (janvier 2008): 78-91.
(3) Calafat, A., «Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003-2004».
(4) Commission européenne, Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation, Annex VI, Table 3.2 (Sep 2009), Reg. 1272/2008,http://ecb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/classification-labelling/.
(6) Environment Canada, « List of substances on the DSL that are Persistent and Inherently Toxic to the Environment, » CEPA Environmental Registry,http://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/eng/subs_list/DSL20/DSLsearch.cfm?critSearch=PI (see CAS #3380-34-5).