In response to an August 2011 Bloomberg News Report regarding the use of Triclosan in Colgate Total Toothpaste, the customs department in Hong Kong is conducting an inquiry into the safety of the product, specifically its active ingredient, triclosan.
The report highlighted research that links triclosan to the growth of cancer cells and to developmental impairment in animals. A 2013 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit led to the release in early 2014 of Colgate’s application for FDA approval of Total toothpaste which was filed in 1997. This report, combined with recent research into the chemical, raises concerns about whether the product should remain on the market.
In Hong Kong, the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance regulates toothpaste and other consumer goods. The ordinance “requires manufacturers, importers and suppliers to ensure that all consumer goods they supply comply with the general safety requirement,” Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department said.
Colgate-Palmolive’s Hong Kong office responded to the report, “The Aug. 11 report “unfairly questions the U.S. FDA’s safety review of Colgate Total, Colgate Total users can be fully confident in the safety of our toothpaste.”
Hong Kong Customs said they intend to “seek professional advice from the Department of Health,” and explains “Under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, it is an offense to supply, manufacture or import into Hong Kong consumer goods unless the goods comply with the general safety requirements.”
A number of companies are no longer using the chemical, but Colgate is standing firm, noting the stringent process the company had to go through to get FDA approval for the product. Colgate contends that more than 80 studies conducted on more than 19,000 people to prove its safety in humans.
“In the nearly 18 years that Colgate Total has been on the market in the U.S., there has been no signal of a safety issue from adverse-event reports,” said Thomas DiPiazza, a company spokesman.
The FDA responded to Bloomberg’s query by saying that as far as they are concerned, any agency concerns regarding a link to cancer were resolved by a cancer study provided in 1997. The FDA published the study on their website and said it supports Colgate’s stance that the chemical is safe and does not pose a cancer risk.
The Department of Health in China says it has had no reports of any adverse reactions to triclosan.
Consider that a better toothpaste might be made at home.