January 19, 2013: "In light of questions raised by recent animal studies of triclosan, FDA is reviewing all of the available evidence on this ingredient’s safety in consumer products. FDA will communicate the findings of its review to the public in winter 2012." -- Food & Drug Administration.
California author and holistic health advocate Beth Greer (Super Natural Mom), at left, tackled the dangers of Triclosan in an essay ("Is antibacterial soap making your kids fat?") published in the Huffington Post last month:
[Triclosan]... a chemical (actually, a pesticide) [is used in] Colgate Total toothpaste. ...There is a warning label on the box of Colgate Total that says "Keep out of reach of children under the age of 6. If more than used for brushing is swallowed, contact the poison control center or your physician."
[So] Colgate is aware that Triclosan shouldn't be ingested in large amounts. But what about small amounts ingested twice a day over years? (A really effective way to absorb chemicals is through the mouth.)
And what about children under 6, whose parents may not have read the warning label? No one is certain. But one thing is for sure: "Three out of four Americans have Triclosan in their blood," said Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D, senior scientist in the health and environment program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in San Francisco. "And when you brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing the chemical, your levels go way up." According to one study (Allymr, 2009), volunteers brushing with Tricolsan toothpaste for 14 days [showed dramatic increases in the chemical in their blood levels] -- 450 times normal.
...Triclosan (also found in deodorant, acne cream and antibacterial soaps) is proven to be an endocrine disruptor in laboratory animals. It decreases thyroxine levels in the thyroid (Crofton, 2007),interferes with testosterone and decreases sperm counts (Kumar, 2009); and interferes with estrogen, bringing on early puberty (Stoker, 2010). ...studies are only beginning to examine what the impacts might be. And of note, people are typically exposed to levels of triclosan that are lower than those used in the animal studies.
Writing earlier this month in the San Francisco Chronicle, Stephanie Lee reports:
Criticism of triclosan has intensified with recent research. In an August study by UC Davis and University of Colorado scientists, triclosan appeared to impair heart function and muscular strength in mice and cause fish to swim more slowly.
...[Children] who are exposed to high doses of triclosan may suffer more allergies, according to recent studies from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the University of Michigan. The chemical may play a role in making environments so clean that, in fact, young people's immune systems do not develop in such a way to combat allergens, researchers said.
Johnson & Johnson said in August [corporate commitment can be read here] that it will remove potentially harmful chemicals, including triclosan and formaldehyde, from its consumer products by 2016. And Colgate-Palmolive has removed triclosan from its Palmolive antibacterial dish liquid and Softsoap liquid hand soap. But the compound remains in Colgate toothpaste as a gingivitis-fighting ingredient approved by the FDA.
The Food & Drug Administration, which was scheduled to publish new information on Triclosan "in the winter of 2012" says:
Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.
Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
In light of questions raised by recent animal studies of triclosan, FDA is reviewing all of the available evidence on this ingredient’s safety in consumer products. FDA will communicate the findings of its review to the public in winter 2012.
Tracking the FDA's inability to meet its own deadline, OnEarth reported in early Decemer 2012:
...Meanwhile, as the FDA continues its glacial review process, several elected officials, consumer and environmental groups (including the Natural Resources Defense Council, which publishes OnEarth), and even the American Medical Associaiton -- all of whom have reviewed the studies -- are insisting that the FDA finally regulate triclosan, because those studies show it to be not only useless, but risky.