Cancer alert from toothpaste
- This came over an autism network. Thought I'd pass it along. Tom's of Maine thankfully is not on the bad list.Carol
Toothpaste cancer alert
By Mark Prigg Science Correspondent And Rebecca
Lawrence, Evening Standard
Dozens of toothpastes sold at supermarkets are at the
centre of a cancer alert today.
Anti-bacterial cleaning products, including
dishwashing liquid and handwash, are also affected.
Researchers have discovered that triclosan, a chemical
in the products, can react with water to produce
chloroform gas. If inhaled in large enough quantities,
chloroform can cause depression, liver problems and,
in some cases, cancer.
An Evening Standard investigation found dozens of
products on supermarket shelves containing the
chemical, from brand names including Colgate,
Aquafresh, Dentyl and Sensodyne.
Marks& Spencer confirmed today it was removing
products containing triclosan from all its stores and
has been working with Greenpeace to develop
Asda said it was investigating the problem and would
be urgently talking to its suppliers.
Giles Watson, a toxicology expert at wildlife charity
WWF, warned that the long-term effects of exposure to
chloroform were still unknown and advised consumers to check the bottles before buying products.
"These products produce low levels of chloroform, but
that adds up over time. The amount of gas formed is
very low but I think the key thing is that we just
don't know what the effects are. However,
manufacturers do have to list triclosan on their
ingredients, so if consumers are worried the best
advice is to avoid products with the chemical."
A Tesco spokesman said: "We do not use triclosan in
any of our own-brand products, apart from one
anti-bacterial handwash, which is being reformulated,
and our toothpaste. We believe that triclosan is a very effective ingredient in toothpaste as it helps fight gum disease and improve overall oral care."
The Department of Trade and Industry said use of
triclosan was tightly controlled under EU laws brought
in last year, but that they were under constant review.
Researchers in the US found that the chlorine added to
water in Britain reacted with triclosan to produce chloroform-gas. They found that it was possible for the chloroform produced when soap containing the chemical mixes with chlorinated water to be absorbed through the skin or inhaled.
Professor Peter Vikesland, of Virginia Tech
University, who carried out the research, said: "This
is the first work that we know of that suggests that
consumer products, such as antimicrobial soap, can
produce significant quantities of chloroform." He has
called for governments around the world to regulate
the chemical more closely.
Triclosan is in:
Colgate Total fresh stripe
Sensodyne Total Care
Tesco own brand toothpaste