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Did the FDA and Colgate Conspire to Bury Health Concerns of Popular Toothpaste?


toothpaste Triclosan, a chemical in Colgate Total toothpaste, has been linked to cancer, hormonal imbalances and an array of other health maladies. The toothpaste was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997, but recent revelations cast doubt on its safety, and the adequacy of the initial safety investigation. In addition, the disclosures illustrate the inadvisability of the government practice of relying on company-funded studies to evaluate the safety of chemicals contained in their products.

Released Documents Reveal Health Concerns That the FDA Buried

Colgate, contends that its Total toothpaste, the only toothpaste in which triclosan is found, is safe because it passed the FDA approval process, but a closer look shows the investigation may not have been rigorous enough.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit earlier this year has led to the release of FDA documents relating to their review of studies on triclosan. Their evaluation of animal studies raised some red flags that the chemical could increase the risk of cancer and cause fetal bone malformations, premature births and low-weight fetuses. Yet instead of conducting further tests to ensure the chemical was safe for humans, they dismissed their concerns.

Independent scientists reviewing the FDA documents said the summaries of the studies failed to provide sufficient detail to justify the dismissals. In fact, one of the reviewers, Thomas Zoeller, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told Bloomberg News that he was amazed the FDA kept the information private.

Until the release of the documents, this information was withheld from public view — and Total’s manufacturer isn’t accused of a cover-up. It was the FDA’s decision not to disclose the documents at the time, Colgate says.

Another problem is that the FDA often depends on company-backed research to prove a product is safe and effective. Therefore, instead of having a product tested by an independent third party that doesn’t stand to gain monetarily from the outcome, it is tested by the company that seeks its approval.

Other Health Concerns

Other health and environmental concerns associated with triclosan include endocrine disruption and impaired muscle function along with bacterial resistance and persistence in the environment. The long-term exposure is particularly troubling. Regulators are currently deciding if it is safe to put the product in soaps, toys and cutting boards, but in the meantime, millions of Americans are putting it in their mouths through the use of Colgate’s Total.

Add Your Voice to the Ban Triclosan Campaign

Total is the only toothpaste sold in America that contains triclosan. Colgate says the toothpaste’s safety has been proven by more than 80 clinical studies, and it has no plans to reformulate the product. However, the company is in the line of fire and is losing customers over the triclosan controversy. Moreover, activists groups are asking retailers to eliminate products containing triclosan from their shelves. It is hoped that public pressure will move the toothpaste manufacturer to reconsider its stance on the issue and change the formula of Total. In the meantime, you can add your voice to the ban triclosan campaign and sign the pledge to stop using products containing the chemical.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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