Colgate-Palmolive’s Total toothpaste uses triclosan, an antibacterial chemical linked to cancer-cell growth in animals, to fight gum disease.
While the company maintains that triclosan is safe for humans, some studies suggest the chemical is now found throughout the environment in including water and soil. And some of the scientific findings that Colgate used to establish triclosan’s safety in toothpaste weren’t publically available until this year when the FDA released about three dozen pages summarizing toxicology studies on the chemical in response to a lawsuit, Bloomberg News reports.
In May, Minnesota lawmakers voted to ban the chemical and a month earlier Avon announced plans to phase out triclosan from its cosmetic and personal care products. Although Avon says that scientific evidence “supports the safe use of triclosan,” the company bowed to consumer pressure to drop the chemical from its consumer products.
In August 2012, Johnson & Johnson announced plans to remove a number of potentially harmful chemicals, including triclosan, from its line of adult consumer products by the end of 2015. The company already pledged last November to remove specific chemicals from its baby products, such as Johnson baby shampoo, by 2013.