Vietnamese health authorities have asked Colgate Palmolive to respond to reports about the presence of a cancer-causing chemical in its toothpaste.
A Drug Administration of Vietnam offical told Thanh Nien News on Thursday that the agency ordered Colgate Palmolive Vietnam to submit an emergency quality control report about Colgate products being sold in Vietnam.
On August 11, Bloomberg reported that the antibacterial chemical triclosan found in Colgate Palmolive’s Total toothpaste was linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals.
Regulators are reviewing whether it’s safe to put in soap, cutting boards and toys; consumer companies are phasing it out; and Minnesota voted in May to ban it in many products, the news wire reported.
Colgate said Total is safe, citing the Food and Drug Administration process that led to the toothpaste’s 1997 approval as an over-the-counter drug.
“A closer look at that application process, however, reveals that some of the scientific findings Colgate put forward to establish triclosan’s safety in toothpaste weren’t black and white -- and weren’t, until this year, available to the public,” Bloomberg reported.
Among the pages were studies showing fetal bone malformations in mice and rats. Such malformations look more like a signal that triclosan is disrupting the endocrine system and throwing off hormonal functioning, Bloomberg quoted scientists as saying.
Following the report, many consumer groups in the US have put pressure on retailers to remove products containing potentially harmful ingredients from shelves, including triclosan.
Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post quoted a Hong Kong health departmental spokesman as saying that Hong Kong Customs would look into the report, and seek professional advice from the health department on relevant health concerns.