Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical used in the toothpaste Colgate Total, has been linked to cancer-cell growth in animals, a Bloomberg News investigation found.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the chemical in 1997 — but it was just revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request that the toxicology reports used to justify the chemical's use had been compiled by scientists affiliated with the company, Bloomberg News reported.
The FDA actually had concerns that triclosan could increase the risk of cancer, but Colgate scientists said not to worry — that the risk only applied to those who consumed or absorbed the chemical in large doses, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, more independently conducted science has shown that concerns about the chemical and cancer were widespread and even valid — raising questions about whether due diligence of the chemical's dangers had been conducted at the time of its approval for toothpaste use.
"The recently released [FOIA report] pages, taken alongside new research on triclosan, raise questions about whether the agency did appropriate due diligence in approving Total 17 years ago," scientists said to Bloomberg News.
In 2010, triclosan was linked to reduced fertility in mice, and in 2013, linked to lowered sperm production in rats, the Daily Mail reported. In 2003, meanwhile, a study revealed that triclosan was in the urine of 75 percent of 2,517 tested Americans, the Daily Mail reported.
Colgate-Palmolive, however, said company officials stand by their product and point out that most of the science that's shown concerns about the chemical came from animal tests, not humans. Colgate also said it's not planning to reformulate the toothpaste, the Daily Mail reported.
"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," company spokesman Thomas DiPiazza said in the Bloomberg News report.
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