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Tricolsan in my Toothpaste

03.19.10 Tricolsan in my Toothpaste

The title of this post sounds like a country song. It is sad, but true. 

Let me back up. 

Ever since I wrote that article about the Dateline Body Burden show chronicling two families, and the levels of toxins present in their blood, I have been thinking about tricolsan. I know, that is a little weird. 

Here's what I wrote about tricolsan, "The Green family also had very low levels of triclosan, a bacteria killing pesticide found in hand soaps, cutting boards, and even toys and toothpaste (!?). Dateline states that this chemical is toxic to wildlife, linked to cancer, and bioaccumulates in the food chain over time. It is also a chemical that is showing up in our wastewater treatment plants, rivers and streams. I had heard of this chemical before, but I haven't been vigilant about avoiding it, as I will now be." 

I remember feeling horrified that this chemical would be added to toothpaste. Then that night, I flipped over my tube of toothpaste, Colgate Total, and there it was. Right there. In my toothpaste. In my mouth. 

I can hear you screaming, why are you using conventional toothpaste? The truth is, I love that antiseptic, clean mouth, after the dentist feeling. I did not feel that after using Tom's of Maine toothpaste. And boy, did I suffer for these teeth. Years of braces, retainers, and broken jaws. I really want them to last until I am, well, not around any more. So, this is one area I have not changed about. At least not yet. 

Then I learned how tricolsan is very toxic to wildlife as well. The Good Human reports that the chemical is related to the pesticide Agent Orange (charming), breaks down into dioxin in river water, and turns into toxic chloroform gas with tap water. So why haven't I heard much about this ingredient before now?

Tricolsan is also in anti-bacterial soaps and products. Thankfully, this chemical does have to be labeled as an ingredient, and it is an easy one to avoid. 

Unless you just bought an expensive new tube of Colgate Total, and you are frugal, I am left wondering what the cost/environmental benefit analysis is.

For the record, I use Tom's of Maine with my 3 year old. At least she won't grow up thinking an artificial antiseptic feeling is a good thing.

(originally posted on Non-Toxic Kids)

Posted in: Toothpaste
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