Colgate Total® Toothpaste and the Environment
Our vigilance in carefully scrutinizing the safety of Colgate Total® includes assessing any potential harm triclosan might cause in the environment. Colgate is committed to reducing our impact on the environment and strengthening the sustainability profile of our products, including the ingredients we use.
We understand the questions being asked about triclosan, have reviewed existing research, and have sponsored studies and assessments with others and on our own. We are confident in the science that demonstrates that triclosan in our toothpaste is safe for the environment.
Why should you share our confidence?
A very small amount of triclosan enters the environment. After being used and rinsed down the drain, up to 98% of triclosan is removed in modern wastewater treatment plants. The remaining amount that is then released into the aquatic environment will continue to break down, since triclosan is biodegradable and breaks down in sunlight.
To assess the potential for environmental harm, detailed assessments based on real-world exposures and concentrations have been conducted. These assessments show triclosan does not accumulate in the bodies of fish and other aquatic animals. Instead, triclosan is rapidly processed through the digestive system and then excreted as waste. These risk assessments utilizing environmental data from Europe and the US show no evidence of harm from the small amount of triclosan entering the environment.
In November 2016 both Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada finalized a review of triclosan. The review found that triclosan did not pose a risk to human health in Canada. Environment and Climate Change Canada stated that while triclosan may have negative environmental impact above an identified level, this impact can be managed by limiting the release of triclosan into the environment.
Colgate continues to review all relevant studies and supports continued inquiry into the potential environmental impact of triclosan. We are confident in the scientific assessment that triclosan is safe at the low levels found in the environment today. And we foresee even less triclosan in the environment tomorrow as companies increasingly formulate products with triclosan only where regulatory authorities recognize a health benefit of importance to consumers – as is the case with Colgate Total®.