The Colgate Total toothpaste website states the following:
Colgate Total® is the only toothpaste on the market that has undergone the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous New Drug Application (NDA) review process for efficacy and safety, including periodic reviews of scientific literature and safety information. . . . There are more published, peer-reviewed clinical studies of Colgate Total® than of any other toothpaste in the world. The safety and efficacy of Colgate Total® toothpaste is supported by more than 90 scientific studies, involving 20,000 people, as well as by a broad set of safety evaluations. A recent five-year clinical study, published in 2012, also affirms the safety of Colgate Total® toothpaste.
But does this actually mean anything? Johnson & Johnson, another American multinational corporation which specializes in developing medical devices and selling pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods, has been ordered to pay $72 million US dollars to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her decades-long use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower. Approximately 1,000 more cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey. In this specific case, jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy. You can read more about that here.
Even more alarming is the fact that the doctors who govern these peer-reviewed medical journals have spoken out a number of times on the unreliability of most published literature, which is dominated by corporate influence and scientific fraud. A common example we use here at CE is Dr. Richard Horton, who is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, one of the most credible peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. He has explained in perfect detail the problems which plague scientific research today:
The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. (source)
Arnold Seymour Relman, a Harvard Professor of Medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal, offers further insight into the issue:
The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry (source)(source)
Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and the current Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal, also expresses these sentiments:
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (source)
John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine, published a study titled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” which explains the issue in detail. To this day, his paper is the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science. And this was more than 10 years ago — the problem has clearly worsened in the intervening years.
There are countless other examples of insiders exposing these truths; as you can see, much of what these corporations say, and the scientific literature that they fund/publish, should be greeted with extreme caution.
According to Bloomberg Business:
A closer look at the application process, however, reveals that some of the scientific findings Colgate put forward to establish triclosan’s safety in toothpaste weren’t black and white — and weren’t, until this year, available to the public.
These documents were actually withheld from public viewing by the FDA, and it’s important to point out here that major corporations and the FDA have essentially become one and the same. Corporations have enormous influence over government policy. The only reason that the documents were released at all is because a lawsuit was filed over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The FDA report raised concerns that the chemical could cause cancer. You can view the release of the document HERE.
The Canadian Medical Association has even called for a ban on products that contain triclosan. (source)
According to Bloomberg Business:
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. 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, said three scientists who reviewed the pages at Bloomberg News’s request.
Despite all the evidence, Colgate still maintains that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about. Will you believe them?
In addition to cosmetics and Colgate toothpaste, triclosan is used in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent. It also serves as an antibacterial agent in laundry detergent, facial tissues, and antiseptics for wounds, as well as a preservative to resist bacteria, fungus, mildew, and odors in other household products that are sometimes advertized as “anti-bacterial.” These products include garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing, furniture fabric, and more. In fact, triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969.
A recent study published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology found that the chemical encourages cancer-cell growth, and various studies over the past few years have clearly outlined the health dangers associated it. (source) Despite this fact, the company still maintains that it is safe to use.
There are other dangers to be aware of, however. A study conducted at the University of California David discovered that tricolsan impairs muscle function and skeletal muscle contractility. Researchers stated that the effects of the chemical on cardiac function were “really dramatic.” Heart muscle function was reduced by 25 percent. (source)
The researchers also exposed individual human muscle cells to a dose of the chemical typical to what most people would experience in everyday life. They found that this disrupted muscle function and caused heart and skeletal muscle failure. The study’s authors write that triclosan is “found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment. These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”
Triclosan can also pass through the skin and interfere with hormone function (endocrine disruption). And it doesn’t stop there; a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives from 2008 details how scientists detected triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of those tested (2,517 people age six or older).
A Toxicological Sciences study found that triclosan affected estrogen-mediated responses, and many chemicals that imitate estrogen are known to increase breast cancer risk. (source)
Older research has also shown exposure to triclosan disrupts thyroid hormone-associated gene expression in frogs, even at very low levels. The same results were also found in rats. (source)
The list of dangers is seemingly endless, and is particularly concerning in light of the fact that scientists with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 per cent of those tested — more than a decade ago. The numbers have surely risen in the interim. (source)
An abundance of toothpastes which do not use this chemical can easily be found in health food stores and even grocery stores today. Many people are also making their own toothpaste with baking soda and coconut oil, and there are plenty of other options out there; a quick Google search will steer you in the direction of many natural toothpaste brands. I’ve been using these toothpastes for years and have been pleased with the results.
(2) Calafat, A. “Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003-2004.” _Environ Health Perspect _116, 3(Mar 2008):303-307
(3) Gee, RH et al. “Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells.” Appl Toxicol.28, 1 (Jan 2008):78-91