Test: 14 toothpastes are without problematic substances

4. maj 2016

32 toothpastes have been checked in a test by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals. The majority of the products are good choices if you want to avoid unwanted chemicals. However, triclosan and other suspected endocrine disruptors are present in some toothpastes on the Danish market.


Toothpaste test
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Have you thought about the chemicals in the toothpaste, that you use every morning and evening? The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals recommends that you do if you want to avoid problematic ingredients during the brushing.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has checked the ingredient lists on 32 toothpastes, looking for substances that are suspected to be endocrine disrupting and also fragrances which are classified as detrimental to the environment. 14 toothpastes receive the best mark, whereas 5 get the lowest.

“There are plenty of good toothpaste on the market for the consumers. However, there are still substances that we recommend consumers to avoid in order to reduce their exposure. For example, Colgate Total contains the endocrine disrupting substance triclosan. Even though there is no immediate health risk in using the product, triclosan is one of the unnecessary endocrine disrupting substances, that we recommend consumers to reduce or avoid altogether,” says Stine Müller, project manager at The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Besides triclosan some toothpastes in the test contain parabens, which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting substances. One contained the substance manganese sulfate which is classified as damaging to the organs of the body by the EU.

Colgate: EU deems triclosan safe

Colgate-Palmolive A/S stresses that only one of the company’s products contains triclosan and that the EU has assessed the substance and found it safe to use.

“It is clinically proven that Colgate Total’s unique formula reduces plaque and gum problems which is an important health benefit. The Danish Health Authority recognizes that Colgate Total is efficient in its prevention of gum problems. It is important to note that independent scientific committees in the EU have evaluated triclosan several times and concluded that it is a safe and efficient ingredient in toothpaste,” says Rita Skånstrøm, head of communications at Colgate-Palmolive.

She refers to the European cosmetics legislation from 2014 which confirms that a level of triclosan like the one in Colgate Total is safe.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency however advices consumers to avoid the substance triclosan in products such as toothpaste and deodorants.

Aromas necessary in toothpastes

Aromas in toothpaste are a rare cause of allergy according to the National Allergy Research Centre. Consequently, toothpastes with aromas can receive the best mark in the test if they are without other problematic chemicals.

The common fragrance limonene yields a B label in the test, since the substance is classified as detrimental to the environment.