Triclosan: Is it in Your Toothpaste?


I have been vaguely aware that Triclosan has found its way into many preventive oral health care products and due to a recent posting by a dental hygiene colleague about its safety and efficacy, I have decided to do a little research this week and share what I found.

Triclosan is an antibacterial/antifungal agent and is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes to prevent Gingivitis.

Triclosan is registered as a pesticide and may be found in many personal care products as well as clothing and toys.

Manufacturers of Triclosan-containing products claim that they are safe and The American Dental Association endorses its use!

“ ADA News: Triclosan study not relevant to toothpaste”.

However…..Many recent studies are suggesting the following:

  • A Virginia Tech Study found that products containing Triclosan, when exposed to tap water, produce chloroform or other chlorine byproducts.

Rule KL, Ebbett VR, Vikesland PJ (2005). “Formation of chloroform and chlorinated organics by free-chlorine-mediated oxidation of triclosan”. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39 (9): 3176–85.

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers this Triclosan by-product, chloroform, to be a probable carcinogen that could cause cancer.  Here is a link to the article.
  • A study found that in the environment, Triclosan reacts with sunlight, forming chlorophenols and dioxins which act as endocrine disruptors which mimic thyroid hormones thereby blocking normal hormones from being used. Here is a link to the study.
  • Chemically, Triclosan is very stable and therefore is eliminated very slowly, causing toxic bioaccumulation in all living tissues as well as the environment.

Calafat, A., “Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003-2004.”

In researching Canadian legislation and safeguards I found the following:

  • Environment Canada states that Triclosan is inherently toxic to aquatic organisms and because of its persistence does not break down and builds up in the environment.
  • The Canadian Medical Association called for a ban on all antibacterial consumers’ products such as those containing Triclosan.

Now, what does the Canadian Dental Association have to say?  I did a search on their site inputting Triclosan and came up empty-handed!  Typically, the American and Canadian Dental Associations share the same stands on many issues so I know what I expect to hear!

I will be making a call to the CDA later today to see if I can get a statement to pass on to the public but in the meantime, here’s a Pop Quiz to generate some excitement!

What is the number 1 selling toothpaste on the market today that contains Triclosan?


Please remember to be diligent with what you put-on and take-in to your body.  Read your toothpaste label today and consider choosing products carefully to enhance not only your health but the health of the planet!

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Until next time,



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