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New concerns surround toothpaste chemical

Monday - 5/7/2012, 6:44am  ET

toothpaste.jpg
Organic toothpastes are free from triclosan. (Courtesy of Tom's of Maine)

WASHINGTON - While toothpaste may fight gingivitis and bad breath, some are concerned that it's actually the bigger health risk.

A germ-killing chemical found in toothpaste called triclosan, which is also found in mouthwash, deodorant, makeup and soaps, could be threatening to humans and the planet, according to Prevention Magazine.

Canada is the first to take a stance on the chemical. The government there has ruled triclosan is toxic to the environment and aquatic life. On top of that, the U.S.' Northern neighbors say it alters thyroid function, increases antibiotic resistance and makes allergies worse.

Though the Food and Drug Administration hasn't made an official ruling, it has said research into triclosan's health effects raises "valid concerns."

But the FDA's Triclosan: What Consumers Should Know web page says there isn't sufficient safety evidence to recommend changes.

A simple solution for those concerned is to go organic. Tom's of Maine is one company that brands itself on natural products which, on top of not including triclosan, are free from parabens and peroxides as well as several other ingredients.

The website No More Dirty Looks also provides information and suggestions on organic beauty and lifestyle products.

WTOP's Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)