The customs department of the respected island city of Hong Kong is carefully considering whether Colgate Total toothpaste is safe. The concern is over the use of the chemical triclosan in the toothpaste. (read our article about an alternative / superior toothpaste)
An August 11 report by Bloomberg News pointed out studies that link the toxic chemical to the growth of cancer cells and the disruption of natural development in some animals. The Colgate Total application with the U.S. FDA in 1997, when taken alongside this research, causes concern about whether the approval in the U.S. should stand.
In Hong Kong, toothpaste is regulated by a special safety ordinance that requires importers and makers to be sure that all goods comply with safety requirements, according to government officials.
Colgate-Palmolive, the maker of the toothpaste, says that the Bloomberg report unfairly calls into question the safety of Total toothpaste. The company goes on to say that Colgate Total “users” have complete confidence that the toothpaste is safe.
But the assurance that users are okay with it isn’t enough for the Hong Kong city government. The nation’s customs investigators plan to “seek professional advice” from their health department to determine if Colgate total toothpaste is safe enough to distribute in Hong Kong.
While this in no way currently impacts the distribution of the toothpaste in the United State or elsewhere in the world, it raises questions. If the Bloomberg report is accurate and the company’s required filings in the United States are accurate, should sale of the product continue? And more to the point, should anyone who makes purchasing decisions for any family choose a product with a cloud of potential safety issues hanging over it.
Instead, it might make more sense for shoppers around the world to make their own toothpaste, choose a natural brand or at least read labels carefully and watch developments in this situation to make an informed toothpaste buying decision.