Consumer Alert: Ingredient the FDA Just Banned From Soap Is Still in Your Toothpaste
After a nearly 50 year wait, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially banned the dangerous chemical triclosan–as well as 18 other ingredients—from antibacterial hand soaps.
The FDA first proposed a ban on triclosan in the 70s, but the ruling was never finalized and the matter simply fell off the radar.
News of the chemical’s risks have been surfacing slowly over the years. Not only was triclosan linked to heart and muscle impairment, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have long begged the public to stop the overuse of antiobitocs and antibacterial products due to their roll in the creation of “super bugs.”
While I applaud the FDA’s decision to finally ban triclosan from use in hand soap, we’re forgetting that this chemical is also found in another common household product: Toothpaste.
As the father of two young kids, I do all that I can to reduce their exposure to toxins and chemicals. One of these efforts includes having them use natural toothpaste, as I discussed in Part I of this two-part series.
I think most people would be absolutely shocked to learn that their toothpaste is likely loaded with toxic compounds linked to asthma, liver, kidney, and thyroid problems and even cancer. Worse yet, the vast majority of dentists endorse these brands as the “best solution” when, in fact, this is far from the case.
In Part I of this report, I discussed the serious health risks of fluoride, the leading decay-preventive ingredient added to many commercial brands of toothpastes. In Part II of this Special Report, I’m going to tell you how to spot the toxic chemicals used in most commercial brands, and how to make your own natural, safe and effective toothpaste.
What’s In Your Tube?
Advertisements by today’s toothpaste manufacturers seem to promise us everything except a visit from the tooth fairy. Such ads suggest that certain brands of toothpaste can safely whiten teeth, reduce sensitivity to brushing, control tartar, eliminate plaque, prevent cavities, cure gingivitis, and freshen our breath. Yet the lack of scientific proof for most advertising claims of safety and efficacy makes them more of a fairy tale than a reality. And sadly, the government does nothing to limit the false marketing claims of these bogus and dangerous products.
The shocking reality is that many toothpaste ingredients are sourced overseas from manufacturers who use toxic materials and questionable methods of production. Just as troubling, there is no law or regulation that compels them to reveal all of the potentially toxic compounds in their products. Take a look at the tubes of toothpaste in your house. Chances are they won’t mention the country they’re made in and won’t list the ingredients. Strange huh? Consumer products like toys must be labeled with their country of origin. All food products must be clearly list ingredients. What about toothpaste? Welcome to the world of lobbyists and their effect on our policy makers.
Let’s take a closer look at the known chemicals currently used in many popular brands of toothpaste:
Aspartame, a common non-nutritive sweetener, is frequently used in toothpaste, especially children’s versions, to make it sweeter and taste better. However, it is far from safe. Some studies have linked aspartame to brain malignancies. In addition, aspartame-fed laboratory animals showed significant evidence of lymphomas/leukemias and of carcinomas of the renal pelvis and ureter after ingestion of the sweetener. Other research suggests that the compound may be linked to Grave’s disease and pulmonary hypertension.
2. DEA and 3. TEA
Diethanolamine, or DEA, is used as a foaming agent in many types of toothpaste. DEA is a hormone disruptor that can play havoc with the endocrine system. Repeated exposure to DEA can lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers, especially if your diet is low in choline. DEA has also been linked to asthma attacks in children. When combined with other chemicals added to toothpaste, triethanolamine (TEA) can create nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens. TEA, found in hundreds of household products, has been shown to cause liver and kidney lesions in lab animals.
4. Artificial Dyes
Artificial dyes are used to impart color to the final toothpaste product, especially in children’s version to make the colorful and appealing. Commonly used dyes and colorants are FD&C Blue #1, FD&C Yellow #10 and titanium dioxide. The FDA has issued a public alert regarding several reports of toxicity, including death, temporally associated with the use of FD&C Blue No. 1. The World Health Organization has questioned the safety of FD&C Yellow #10. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that FD&C Blue #1 causes cancer in rats. Other studies have found this dye to be an eye and skin irritant and allergen. Titanium dioxide, a white-colored pigment, can cause neurological diseases and impaired lung function in laboratory animals. After use, it can enter municipal sewage systems, lakes, and agricultural land, further disrupting the health of fauna and flora.
5. Hydrated Silica
Hydrated silica is a natural compound derived from quartz, sand, and flint and is used as an abrasive whitener in many whitening toothpastes. Repeated use can erode tooth enamel and prevent tooth surfaces from re-mineralizing. While silica can effectively remove tartar and help teeth appear whiter, it can potentially harm teeth by altering the acidic balance of the mouth, gums and tongue, according to Dr. Warren Scherer, Associate Professor of Restorative and Prosthodontic Sciences New York University College of Dentistry.
Isopropyl alcohol and ethanol (ethyl alcohol) are drying agents that toothpaste manufacturers add to their products to facilitate the entry of other toothpaste ingredients into the gums. Ethanol, a proven carcinogen in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, is also a primary ingredient in many brands of mouthwash. Ethanol has also been shown to degrade the bond between veneers and crowns and your teeth.
7. Potassium Nitrate/Oxalate
Potassium nitrate, one of several chemicals used in tooth-desensitizing toothpastes, blocks the transmissions of nerve cells within the teeth and gums. Potassium nitrate is also a component of gunpowder. The compound has been shown to reduce dentin permeability and promote dentinal tubule occlusion—two conditions that can make teeth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Researchers are concerned about the potential toxic interaction between potassium salts and the antibacterial compound, triclosan, which is added to many brands of commercial toothpaste.
8. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol, an active ingredient in antifreeze, acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. Considered to be a relatively safe substance by some health organizations, ingestion of the compound has nevertheless been associated with serious adverse effects. In one case, propylene glycol intoxication in a child caused central nervous system depression and a severe metabolic acidosis. Propylene glycol can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
The detergent-of-choice for most of today’s toothpaste manufacturers is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is also used as a flea and tick repellent. Some toothpaste manufacturers use a related compound, sodium laureth sulfate, for its superior foaming ability. I wouldn’t let my family use any toothpaste that contains either form of this potentially toxic detergent.
SLS, which gets into the environment after use, is directly toxic to fish and other aquatic animals and accumulates in the bodies of the fish we eat. SLS, if applied directly, can irritate the eyes and the skin. According to the American College of Toxicology, the human body can retain SLS for up to five days as it accumulates in such organs as the brain, heart and liver. When combined with other chemicals added to toothpaste (such as TEA), SLS can react with other ingredients in toothpaste to create nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens.
The worse of them all, triclosan is an antibacterial compound used in many brands of commercial toothpaste. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified triclosan as a pesticide, warning that it poses a risk to human health and to the environment. Chemically, triclosan belongs to a class of compounds (chlorophenols) suspected of suppressing immune system function and causing cancer in humans. Triclosan can react with chlorine in tap water to form the carcinogen, chloroform. Triclosan, which accumulates in fat cells each time you brush your teeth, is a known hormone disruptor; recent research suggests that triclosan could disrupt thyroid hormone levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that triclosan is present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. population. Scientists at Tufts University have issued a consumer alert report regarding the possibility of triclosan usage and antibiotic resistance.
How To Make Your Own Healthy and Natural Toothpaste
Here is a recipe you can use to make inexpensive, safe, and effective toothpaste free of the toxic compounds found in most commercial brands. I guarantee that it is just as effective, perhaps even more effective than traditional store brand toothpastes. Plus it’s more economical and you know where it’s made – your house!
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
- 1 drop peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops grapefruit seed extract
- A few drops filtered or spring water
Combine ingredients in a cup and mix thoroughly with a toothbrush or a small spoon until a smooth, thick paste forms. Make sure the paste isn’t too thin to adhere to your toothbrush. Dip your toothbrush into the paste and use as you would commercial toothpaste.
Not into making your own toothpaste? Not to worry. The following natural toothpaste products are free of the harmful chemicals found in traditional toothpaste. As far as price and effectiveness go, my favorite brand is JASON, which offers several varieties of toothpaste. You should be able to find most of these products at your local natural foods market, or click on the links below to find them on Amazon.
JASON Healthy Mouth Toothpaste is all natural whitening toothpaste that brightens teeth with bamboo, calcium carbonate and silica, instead of chemicals or harsh abrasives. It contains essential oils of mint, tea tree, clove and cinnamon to freshen breath and promote healthy gums and aid in inhibiting the growth of oral bacteria. Grapefruit seed extract helps to block sugar acids and perilla seed extract fights tartar buildup.
JASON Sea Fresh Toothpaste is another all natural whitening toothpaste that whitens teeth with bamboo, calcium carbonate and silica. It contains essential oil of spearmint to freshen breath, as well as other essential oils that promote oral health and sea-sourced minerals that help to nourish and strengthen enamel.
JASON Oral Comfort with CoQ10 is an all natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth. It provides natural protection to reduce the sensitivity of teeth to cold, heat, acids, sweets or direct contact and promotes whiter, brighter teeth without chemicals or harsh abrasives. CoQ10 helps to heal and protect gums, while natural berry and mint flavors freshen breath and blast halitosis away
JASON Kids Only Toothpaste delivers fun fruity freshness and an easy-to-squeeze tube. The delicious natural orange flavor keeps my kids coming back for more, while calcium carbonate and essential oils keep their teeth clean and healthy.
*Some of JASON’s toothpastes contain trace amounts of Fluoride, and therefore are not recommended for children. The JASON Kids Only, however, is Fluoride-Free.
Other Great Brands
Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste in Creme de Peppermint is available on Amazon.com in 6-packs of 6-ounce tubes, which allows you to save a bit on the regular retail price. It contains baking soda and is flavored with exhilarating peppermint oil for deliciously fresh breath and a healthy-feeling mouth.
BabyGanics Say Ahh Flouride Free Toothpaste in Strawberry is a dye-free clear gel that helps remove plaque and promotes good oral health. It’s formulated with entirely natural based ingredients so that it’s safe to swallow.
Dr. Mercola Natural Toothpaste contains calcium carbonate, which acts as a mild abrasive for cleaning your teeth, xylitol as a natural fluoride replacement organic aloe vera juice to cleanse the teeth and gums while soothing your entire mouth. Baking soda promotes whitening and helps freshen your breath, while an essential oil blend freshens breath and boosts oral health.
Recommended for you:
Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.