Do You Know What's In Your Toothpaste? Is Anything Safe Anymore?

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical that is added to many products to prevent or limit bacterial contamination. Along with toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, and soap, triclosan can be found in hair products, cosmetics, shaving cream, household cleaners, clothing, toys, and a variety of other products most people use every day.

Canada, the European Union, and other countries have already banned the use of triclosan, or limited its use, but the FDA says it is not yet convinced that triclosan is harmful to humans.

Animal studies so far have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation, however the FDA is not convinced humans would experience those same effects that the animals suffered. Additional studies are looking into the possibility that triclosan conduces to making bacteria antibiotic resistant.

Edward Markey, D-Congressman from Massachusetts, has requested that the FDA conduct a scientific and regulatory review of triclosan and the results are expected to be available next year. Markey wants triclosan banned from use in products intended for children as well as any products that would come into contact with food.

Dr. David Brownstein is a board-certified family physician, and one of the leading practitioners of holistic medicine in the U.S. He says triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, because it depresses thyroid hormones in the bodies of rats. The more triclosan the rats were fed in the studies, the more negative symptoms they exhibited.

Rats, and humans share slightly more than 99% of the same genes. For that reason rats are considered a superior animal for studying and modeling human disease.

According to Newsmax Health, “In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (2003-2004), triclosan was detected in 75 percent of people studied. Detectable levels of triclosan were also found in breast milk.

Brushing with trichosan or diephylene glycol may be hazardous to your health.
Brushing with trichosan or diephylene glycol may be hazardous to your health.

What Are The Advantages of Triclosan?

Triclosan has been shown to inhibit plaque formation and buildup on teeth, which causes cavities. Also, triclosan has proven to be more effective than fluoride in preventing gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums causing them to be red, puffy, tender, and to bleed easily. In its late stages gingivitis causes tooth and bone loss.

As previously stated, triclosan can be found in some antibacterial soaps, but the FDA has said it has no proof that washing with soap that includes triclosan is better than washing with soap that does not include it.

Triclosan Is Not The Only Health Threat In Toothpaste

According to USA Today, a company in Los Angeles has been charged with importing and distributing nearly 90,000 tubes of poisonous toothpaste from China. The toothpaste contained diethylene glycol, which is a chemical used as a solvent in antifreeze. Diethylene glycol, used by the Chinese instead of glycerin to thicken the toothpaste can cause kidney and liver damage over time.

The New York Times reports that this same Chinese toothpaste containing the diethylene glycol that was sold in Los Angeles was also sold in Miami and Puerto Rico.

The FDA is recommending that consumers discard any and all toothpaste they may have that was made in China. Most of the Chinese toothpaste is marketed at Dollar Plus stores and similar retail outlets.

The toothpaste in this case was ShiR Fresh Mint Fluoride Paste, but the FDA says it has identified at least 9 other Chinese toothpaste brands marketed in the U.S. containing the diethylene glycol, which was not listed in the ingredients on the package.

Keeping You and Your Family Safe

Reading the ingredients listed on the package is becoming more and more important. Triclosan, when it is included in a toothpaste, soap, or other hygiene product manufactured in the U.S., will be listed in the ingredients stated on the package.

Avoid products of dubious origin.

References

The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/02/us/02toothpaste.html

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2008-03-06-toxic-toothpaste-charges_N.htm

Canada.com: http://www.canada.com/health/Common+toothpaste+additive+triclosan+deemed+toxic+environment/6361712/story.html

ConsumerReports.org: http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/2010/05/should-triclosan-be-banned.html

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

© 2012 C E Clark

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Comments 40 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

TIMETRAVELER2, actually they aren't the same. Campaign funds are highly regulated and only people running for office collect them. Anyone can have a PAC. You, me, the birds in the trees. Well, maybe not the birds, but PAC money can be used for ANYTHING so long as the owner of that PAC is NOT running for office. Vacations, rent, utilities, education, you name it, the PAC money can be raised by suggesting one will run for office, but so long as they don't follow though, it's theirs to do as they wish. That is why I said not long ago that I don't believe Sarah Palin will ever run for another office. She has a PAC with several million dollars in it and so long as she doesn't run for office every penny is hers and under her control. She suggests she'll run every now and then so people will send more contributions, but I don't believe she ever will.

You see, if someone actually runs for office they are no longer allowed to control their own PAC and must give control of it over to someone else and have no part in its expenditure.

Campaign funds MUST be spent on campaign expenses that are spelled out in the law. I'm sure you've heard of various politicians being investigated for campaign fund abuse. I think Chris Christie is in that right now, Michele Bachmann was recently. PAC money can be spent on anything at all so long as a person isn't running for office, not even dogcatcher. So why do people contribute to PACs? Ask someone who does that, because it often makes no sense.

PACs for actual political action committees are another matter. They are usually owned by people like the Koch Brothers. Not necessarily independently wealthy people, but by people who want to sway opinion and politics anonymously. A group of people who are political, but they aren't politicians and do not plan to run for office. They plan to own the person who does win the office in question.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 18 months ago

It kind of boils down to the same thing, doesn't it? Unlimited amounts of money that can be given anonymously to politicians or be used against them. Abe Lincoln must be turning in his grave!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

TIMETRAVELER2, the SCOTUS didn't eliminate the limits on campaign contributions or change them at all. What they ruled on was the PACs I mentioned before, how much individuals and corporations could contribute, and the right of donors to remain anonymous.

All those organizations that you see advertising with their little videos mostly during political campaigns are financed by these organizations whose members and donors can now remain anonymous, and collect as much money from each donor as possible.

PAC stands for Political Action Committee. It was just that sort of organization that ran the ads about John Kerry and what a coward he was and how he purposely put himself at risk so he could use it as a ploy to win votes when he ran for president later. I'm sure that's what he was thinking at the time, (being facetious here) and how anyone could believe such a thing I don't know, but they did swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Yes, SCOTUS ruled on that, and they were wrong, and we will all pay dearly for it until it is corrected.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 18 months ago

Yep...and you can blame the Supreme Court for recently eliminating those political contribution limits. What can they be thinking! No wonder we have poison in our toothpaste!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

TIMETRAVELER2, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this issue. We definitely need to take all the money out of campaign funding. There is a limit on how much money individuals can contribute to a candidate's campaign war chest, but there is no limit to who and how much and how often corporations and individuals and organizations can give to Super Packs. Nor does the recipient have to divulge where the money comes from. There is the corruption of the highest order -- in the super packs.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Prettynutjob30, thank you for stopping by! Appreciate the votes and shares. Believe me, fluoride is a small thing compared to what they're putting in toothpaste nowadays.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this article in so many places. Very much appreciate the time you took to do that. I hope you will find that your toothpaste is safe.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 18 months ago

And we wonder why it is that so many people are suffering from Cancer and other life threatening diseases! There seems to be no escape for us if our politicians keep giving into the money big business sends them. It's time for all of that to stop. When it does, we will not have these types of problems. Great but very scary hub! Voted up.


prettynutjob30 profile image

prettynutjob30 18 months ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

Me and my family use Tom's fluoride-free toothpaste, and have noticed such a difference in our teeth. I grew up thinking you had to use fluoride for a healthy smile, but over the last few years, have found this to be untrue. Great hub, voted up, shared and more.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Thanks for sharing some interesting and useful information about toothpaste. When I was a kid, I thought that toothpaste was made from synthesized urea. I'll have to start looking at the labels of my Thai toothpaste and see if triclosan or diethylene glycol is present in the toothpaste. Voted up and sharing with HP followers and on Facebook and Google+


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Deborah-Diane, thank you for commenting and sharing this article! Yes, it isn't only toothpaste from China that we need to be reading the ingredients on. I heard about the yellow dyes too.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

I am sharing this again because it is so frightening. I heard yesterday that we should keep anything yellow away from our kids because of hazards in the dye, and Tylenol can cause ADHD. Is nothing safe?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for pinning this hub!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

It is sad that many of the products we assume to be safe are actually the cause of adverse effects in our bodies...even potentially deadly ones. Pinning this to my Do you know this? board. You are widely represented there since you write such informative hubs. :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Deborah-Diane, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. If enough people realized what was in the toothpaste they might insist on something better. Most people take for granted that somebody is watching over them, but in fact we must watch over ourselves. Otherwise we enable these things to happen.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

It is so crazy that we cannot even buy toothpaste without endangering our lives. I just don't understand why these manufacturers can get away with this!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Your Cousins for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub. Good idea to look at the ingredient list for anything a person is going to put in their mouth or on their body!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rajan jolly for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing this hub. Our government agencies often take orders from office holders (Congressmen/women) who in turn receive pac money and campaign contributions from the big businesses that manufacture this stuff. Even when politicians have no direct control/influence they have their ways of reaching anyone who doesn't cooperate.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

KenWu, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. Baking soda and salt or baking soda and peroxide. Either will get your teeth nice and clean inexpensively. You do want to avoid swallowing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Rochelle Frank for commenting and sharing your thoughts and giving such high praise. Yup, hippo gutts will make you sick thinking about them, but Triclosan and Diethylene Glycol can destroy your health and possibly kill you even though they sound less disgusting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts Peggy W, and for sharing, tweeting, etc. Yes, as a result of so many antibacterial products we are becoming antibiotic resistant and I can tell you that huge amounts of penicillin already has no effect on me. Triclosan messes up a person's hormones, and how far is it from that to thyroid problems? After all, it is they thyroid gland that regulates your hormones.

Between messed up hormones and kidney disease (from the antifreeze ingredients also included) along with all the other poisons being put in our processed food supply and other items, shouldn't be long before the population shrinks to manageable size . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

rebeccamealey, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub. In fact everything is made of chemicals of one kind or another. Not all chemicals are bad (one of my science profs pointed this out to my class), but it seems many poisonous chemicals are being added to things, and not just by the Chinese!

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your much appreciated comment, but this has been a murderous week at work. Please forgive me for being even slower than usual.


Your Cousins profile image

Your Cousins 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Et tu toothpaste? We really need to take the time to read all the labels these days so that we are aware of what is going into our bodies. Voted up and useful. On my way to check my toothpaste tube right now!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interesting and certainly useful info. The manufacturers do not talk about the dangerous effects of any chemicals they add to consumer products just harping on the benefits even if they carry a life threatening risk. They are in it for money but I wonder why the government agencies are so lax where public health is at stake?

Voted up, useful and interesting and shared.


KenWu profile image

KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

There is nothing really safe for use and consumption in the modern age. Everything that comes from the lab would have some impacts on our lives. I read somewhere (online forums) that tell people to throw away the toothpaste and use for alternative options. A more natural one but I have forgotten what are them.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

It is tempting to think that this could be an invisable way of fighting a war against humanity-- or else humans have finally outsmarted themselves by using all of these wonderful chemical innovations. In my toothpase hub, I was only worried about hippo guts. Now I have to look for Triclosan and diethylene glycol.

You did a great job of putting this together.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

My goodness! Thanks for the heads-up, Au fait. It seems like more and more products containing chemicals are showing up. Voted useful for sure!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is interesting to find that you wrote this hub some months ago. Just the other day on the Dr. Oz show, this same subject was brought up regarding the Triclosan in toothpaste and the fact that it and other chemicals interrupt our hormone regulation. They did mention a well known brand of toothpaste as an example, but for the same reasons you stated, I will not mention it here in case they take note and change their formulation in the near future. CHECK THOSE LABELS!

Antibacterial soaps are not good for us either and yet it is hard to find (especially liquid) soaps that are not antibacterial. We are becoming bacteria resistant because of so many things that we consume and use. Not a good thing!

In a microbiology class that I took back in my college days, we washed some dishes under running water and scrubbed them with and without soap. We then took cultures of the plates. There was little difference in what eventually grew. Our professor went so far as to say that when camping (as an example) one could use sand as an abrasive instead of soap if the water is clean...dry the plates...and they would be safe to use again.

I guess that was before oil spills washing up on shore!

Voted up, useful, interesting and definitely sharing, tweeting and sending to FB.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

moonlake, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! Actually the toothpaste (when it isn't poison to you too) helps remove plaque and kill the bacteria that cause it. Plain water on a toothbrush will just move it around the way a feather duster rearranges the dust, but doesn't remove it.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Geez I think I'll get rid of my toothpaste. I was in the dentist office one day getting my teeth cleaned and the girl cleaning my teeth said people really don't have to use toothpaste water works just as good using your toothbrush. I thought what a strange thing to say in a dentist office. I never saw that girl working there again. She was properly right. Voted up….


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Brett.Tesol for reading and commenting on my hub! Yes, it is worrying that we import so many products from countries that do not have the regulations we have for protecting consumers. However, our own manufacturers are starting to add toxic ingredients to our hygiene products and food, and so it's getting to where one must be a chemist and watch everything purchased. We may just have to go back to the old fashioned way of doing things like Granny Clampett!


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Another interesting hub Au Fait. I swear that there is something dangerous being added to almost every processed nowadays ... which is worrying with the amount of 'convenient' meals that people consume.

Shared, up and useful.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Jen: Thank you for stopping by and leaving comments. A few brands were mentioned in my research, but I felt it was better not to be specific about which brands. It's possible those brands have changed their formulas, so I thought it best for people to be more aware and check the ingredients to be sure their toothpaste was safe. It's just a good habit to get into -- reading the ingredient lists of products.


Jen 4 years ago

I had no idea they were putting anti-freeze chemicals in our toothpaste! I never buy that cheap stuff at the Dollar Store anyway. Dollar Store has some good deals, but I never buy food there, or toothpaste. Gift wrap and gift bags and that sort of thing are OK. But dangerous chemicals are even being put in toothpaste made here? I didn't know anything was made here anymore. Interesting hub. Now I'll have to see if I can find out what brands put the bad chemicals in toothpaste here.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for your comments Shyron. Making money at any cost is the bottom line, even here in the states.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Diogenes: Thank you for your comments and insights. As always, quite entertaining. You may be right in that the Chinese seem to want to destroy other cultures at least.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

Really scary, it seems you can't find much of anything that is good for a person, and it does seem that some people don't really care.

Keep up the good work.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Tstitch: I don't like knowing that animals are being sickened or killed so that things can be better for humans either, but alas there are no prototypes for living creatures.

Testing chemicals and medicines and the like just doesn't get the same results when tested on plants or rocks or plastic, for example. There's no way to tell if humans would react the same way as a geranium, you know? If all goes well, products are eventually tested on humans.

Thank you for your comments -- they sound like a great idea for another hub -- which you could write. :)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Boy, you're a busy bee lately! I am convinced that the Chinese are attemting to destroy all other ife forms on the planet, including Man. They have practically exterminated all the horned mammals in Africa to make homeopathic medicines for their flagging little yellow dickies. They are having killed hundreds of thousands of the worlds sharks every year just to keep the fins for fucking soup! My advise to the world's soldiers (THe USA) is forget Iran, etc., and drop a few thousand nukes on China.

Bob


Tstitch profile image

Tstitch 4 years ago from Spokane, Washington

My questions are: Why are animal studies still being done? Aren't there better ways of doing product studies?

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