The customs department of Hong Kong is investigating the safety of triclosan in Colgate’s Total Toothpaste.
The investigation comes in the wake of a report released August 11, 2014 in Bloomberg News. The report examined the results of studies that have linked the chemical to the growth of cancer cells and shows that it inhibited development in animals. Parts of the application filed with the FDA and approved in 1997. These, along with recent research into triclosan, raise concerns over whether the product’s approval should hold.
Hong Kong’s Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance regulates certain consumer products, including toothpaste, and requires that they comply with general safety requirements.
In a response to the report, Colgate-Palmolive’s Hong Kong office said: “The Aug. 11 report “unfairly questions the U.S. FDA’s safety review of Colgate Total, Colgate Total users can be fully confident in the safety of our toothpaste.”
In a statement issued by Hong Kong customs, the agency said they intend to “seek professional advice from the Department of Health,” as part of their investigation. The statement continues, “Under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, it is an offense to supply, manufacture or import into Hong Kong consumer goods unless the goods comply with the general safety requirements.”
Some companies have stopped using triclosan in their products, but Colgate stands by its use of the chemical. Colgate cites the meticulous process that products must go through in order to receive FDA approval. Colgate asserts more than 80 clinical studies have been conducted on more than 19,000 people to prove the product safe.
“In the nearly 18 years that Colgate Total has been on the market in the U.S., there has been no signal of a safety issue from adverse-event reports,” said Thomas DiPiazza, a company spokesman.
The study was previously reported in the South China Morning Post. China’s Department of Health indicated that it had not received any reports of adverse reactions as a result of the use of products containing triclosan.
The FDA likewise replied to inquiry from the Bloomberg News by saying that any concerns the agency had have been put to rest by a cancer study published in January 1997. The study “supports the FDA’s conclusion that does not pose a cancer risk for humans,” DiPiazza said.
Those worried about the contents of their store bought toothpaste should consider that the best toothpaste might be made at home.