If you use conventional toothpaste, you could be brushing your teeth with a chemical linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, infertility and a host of other health problems. A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit has revealed that the Colgate-Palmolive Co. conspired with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in the 1990s to deliberately withhold safety data on triclosan, a dangerous biocidal chemical that is used exclusively in Colgate’s Total toothpaste brand.
Total is currently the only toothpaste on the market that contains triclosan, and its continued presence in the oral care product has been the subject of much controversy. Consumer groups have been pressing regulators to take a stand against its use, but the FDA has been reluctant to take a look at the latest data on triclosan that contradicts the industry-sponsored data that the FDA used from the start to justify its approval.
According to an investigation conducted by Bloomberg, the FDA failed to adequately assess the safety of triclosan before approving its use in Total. In fact, the FDA deliberately hid safety data on triclosan, all of which was compiled by Colgate, and only just recently released this information publicly upon threat of a lawsuit. Upon review, it is evident that the FDA did Colgate’s bidding, approving a dangerous chemical that puts consumers at risk.
“The pages show how even with one of the U.S.’s most stringent regulatory processes — FDA approval of a new drug — the government relies on company-backed science to show products are safe and effective,” wrote Tiffany Kary for Bloomberg. “The recently released pages, taken alongside new research on triclosan, raise questions about whether the agency did appropriate due diligence in approving Total 17 years ago, and whether its approval should stand in light of new research.”
Triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste linked to endocrine disruption, fetal bone malformations
Included in the company-sponsored data, which spans 35 pages, is evidence that triclosan can induce fetal bone malformations. Based upon what we now know about this type of developmental abnormality, it is highly suggestive that triclosan interferes with the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing the hormones that lead to healthy bone growth.
As it turns out, triclosan mimics both thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which gives it a unique foothold to latch onto hormone receptors and cause problems. To some people, this might be a risk worth taking if triclosan actually helped kill bacteria as claimed. But an FDA advisory committee found that triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals provide no advantages whatsoever over plain soap and water.
Triclosan is a pesticide derived from Agent Orange component 2,4-D
By definition, triclosan is a pesticide that, based on its chemical structure, resembles a major component of the Agent Orange chemical weapon sprayed during the Vietnam War. Also known as 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol, triclosan is technically a derivative of 2,4-D, a highly toxic herbicide that is currently slated for approval as a solution to “superweeds.”
The FDA had promised back in 1974 to conduct a full assessment of triclosan’s safety, as the chemical had suddenly emerged at that time as an untested antibacterial agent. But some 40 years later, the agency has yet keep its promise, only reluctantly announcing plans to have one completed at some point in 2016.
“The FDA stopped doing its job and stopped protecting the public decades ago,” wrote one incensed Bloomberg commenter. “They are owned and operated by the industries they are supposed to regulate.”
Be sure to read the full Bloomberg report about triclosan here:
Ethan A. Huff
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