FDA Banned Antibacterial Chemical in Soap But Allowed It in Toothpaste

From All Gov.:

By Catherine Saint Louis, New York Times

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration effectively banned the antibacterial chemical triclosan from soaps.

But you can you still find it in your toothpaste.

That’s because the best-selling toothpaste brand, Colgate Total, convinced the FDA that the benefit of triclosan in toothpaste outweighs any risks.

Toothpastes that contain triclosan have “demonstrated to be effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis,” said Andrea Fischer, an FDA spokeswoman. Before approving the toothpaste in 1997, the agency requested that the Colgate-Palmolivecompany conduct toxicology studies, and the FDA ultimately decided it was safe and effective.

“Based on scientific evidence, the balance of benefit and risk is favorable for these products,” Fischer said Tuesday.

Colgate Total is the only toothpaste in the United States that contains triclosan. For some critics, the decision to take triclosan out of topical products but leave it in an oral product is a bit of a head-scratcher.

“We put soap on our hands, and a small amount gets into our body,” said Rolf Halden, a director for environmental security at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, who has tracked triclosan for years. But through the gums, “chemicals get rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.”

In a statement, a Colgate-Palmolive spokesman, Thomas DiPiazza, said the product has undergone a far more rigorous safety review than other toothpastes. When the company sought approval to use triclosan in 1997, it conducted a comprehensive evaluation of human safety of triclosan as part of its new drug application. The review included “carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, eye and skin irritation, and short term and long term toxicity,” he said.

The original FDA submission for Colgate Total contained 98 volumes and included more than 100 toxicology studies, and the company provides monitoring and safety updates annually, …

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