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September 2, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Toothpaste, soap stir health concern

THE local quality watchdog said yesterday that it is closely watching a US study on an active chemical in a range of consumer products, including soaps and toothpaste, that is prompting safety concerns.

Some best-selling products, including toothpastes like Colgate Total and Procter & Gamble's Crest, were on the list of products with the chemical, called triclosan. The US Food and Drug Administration said it is reviewing the safety of triclosan, which was created over 40 years ago as a surgical scrub and is now an ingredient added to many consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination.

The FDA said triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to people.

But animal studies have shown that it alters hormone regulation, while other studies found triclosan can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

The US agency is engaged in an scientific and regulatory review of triclosan, but it does not have sufficient evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain the chemical at this time, it said.

According to the New York Times, triclosan is common in people. A survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemical present in the urine of 75 percent of Americans over the age of five.

The FDA was to announce the results of its review by last spring, but the agency delayed its findings to the winter, 2012 without giving a reason.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is also looking into the safety of triclosan.

An official from the Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said yesterday that a ban on certain chemicals in consumer products will be announced by the state quality authority, which will keep in line with international studies.

"Right now we are not involving in the research," he said. "The government will take action if it is confirmed harmful to people."

Colgate didn't return e-mail from Shanghai Daily inquiring about the triclosan issue, while comment from P&G also was not available.


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