Target: Dr. Robert M. Califf, Food and Drug Administration’s Commissioner
Goal: Remove triclosan, a harmful chemical banned for topical use, from the popular toothpaste brand Colgate Total.
Triclosan, a chemical just banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from being used in antibacterial soaps, is still allowed in the popular toothpaste Colgate Total. Triclosan was banned because its overuse threatened to lead to new strains of harmful bacteria and infections, while also negatively impacting hormones, the reproductive system, and metabolism. However, while you are no longer able to put the chemical on your skin, you are still allowed to put it in your mouth.
Colgate Total is exempt from the ban, arguing that the benefits of the chemical in the toothpaste outweigh the risks associated with it. The chemical has appeared in the toothpaste since 1997 and has demonstrated an ability to fight plaque, gingivitis, gum inflammation, gum bleeding, and cavities more effectively than toothpastes without the chemical. Colgate defends the chemical by saying it put its toothpaste brand through numerous safety studies.
Colgate Total is the only toothpaste that uses triclosan. Although the FDA and Colgate maintain that the product is safe, the mouth and gums have a greater ability to absorb toxins than the rest of the body. If the chemical is too harmful for topical use, it should also be removed from products such as toothpaste. Sign the petition to ask the FDA to consider banning the chemical from toothpaste.
Dear Dr. Califf,
The FDA has been praised recently due to its decision to ban the chemical triclosan from antibacterial soaps and other topical products because of the chemical’s ability to increase the presence of harmful and resistant bacteria and infections. It is a chemical that has been passionately debated for a long time.
However, the FDA has not banned the chemical from the popular toothpaste brand Colgate Total. Colgate Total is the only brand of toothpaste to use the product and claims that it demonstrates an ability to fight plaque, gingivitis, cavities, and other forms of tooth decay more effectively than products without the chemical.
Colgate argues that the benefits of triclosan outweigh the risks, yet if triclosan is too risky for topical use, why can it still be used in the mouth? The mouth is more able to absorb toxins than other areas of the body. The dangers of triclosan were not known when the chemical gained popularity and it took decades for them to finally be uncovered. It is very possible that the dangers of triclosan-based toothpaste may not be known and I urge your organization to order for the removal of the chemical from toothpaste.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Robert Sagan & Emil Puchacz