Concern over toothpaste ingredient

New health concerns about an active ingredient in a popular toothpaste have re-ignited the debate over its use in other cosmetic products.

Colgate Total contains triclosan which experts claim is proven to fight gingivitis, gum bleeding and inflammation.

Triclosan, first used as a hospital scrub in the 1970s, has been added to many products to reduce contamination.

Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) point out that data showing effects in animals do not always predict effects in humans.

Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

It has also been linked with an increase in allergies.

The FDA has said that while it has kept triclosan under review, it has not got enough evidence to recommend a change in consumer use.

Bloomberg News recently reported that the FDA approval process for Colgate Total 17 years ago raised new questions about how the product was evaluated.

It claimed that recently released parts of the Colgate Total application showed that the FDA relied on company-backed science.

Three scientists who reviewed the documents at Bloomberg’s request found that the FDA might not have conducted enough due diligence before approving the use of triclosan in the toothpaste.

However, Tom DiPiazza, a spokesman company said Colgate Total had been reviewed and approved by the US, Europe, Canada and Australia regulatory authorities as safe and effective.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority, formerly the Irish Medicines Board, said inclusion of triclosan in cosmetic products had been reviewed by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).

The SCCS is an independent committee of experts that provide opinions on cosmetic products and their report in June 2010 recommended specific precautionary measures relating to the inclusion of triclosan in cosmetics.

Among its recommendations was that triclosan should be used prudently and limited only to use in cosmetic products where a health benefit could be shown.

A wider review of the use of triclosan in consumer products and the impact of this on the environment is taking place at European level and the HRSA will be informed of the findings.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Simon Harris plans huge makeover for health authority

Bus strike to trigger Monday transport chaos

100 social housing units for Cork

‘Wrestler’ died after ejection from party


Breaking Stories

Enda Kenny signs book of condolence for victims of Westminster attack

Divers start searching wreck of Rescue 116 for missing Coast Guard crew

Wicklow man found guilty of Anne Shorthall's murder

James Brokenshire: Common ground for Northern parties as deadline looms

Lifestyle

Donegal's Little Hours are getting ready to make a real splash on the music scene

Scene + Heard: Entertainment news round-up

Cillian Murphy had his eyes on the Free Fire target

Ask Audrey: 'I’m waiting for my mother to die because her house is worth €1.8 million.'

More From The Irish Examiner