Published on Jan 19, 2020

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License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Do those companies that control the Toothpaste market by fighting for dominance of supermarket shelves really care about consumer health? The two market leaders Colgate Palmolive (Colgate, Ultra Brite, Tom’s of Maine) and Procter & Gamble (Crest) together constitute an Oligopoly, control 60% of the Toothpaste market; GlaxoSmithKline (Aquafresh), and Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer, plus Close-Up, Mentadent, Aim, Pepsodent acquired from Unilever in 2003), and J&J (Rembrandt) account for much of the rest of the American market.

It is obvious that these conglomerates are fiercely fighting over every fraction of a point in market share and they have a common vested interest in making consumer quality searches as tenuous as possible. For this they use allies such as the regulatory agencies, the American Chemistry Council and all the manufacturers of toxic chemicals.

This is clearly demonstrated by the way Industry conspires to delude the consumers: in May 2009 a letter leaked through the Blogosphere, citing how the Chemical Lobby intends to defray consumer pressure on BPA (Bisphenol A) Baby bottles by “Employing fear tactics” like threatening consumers with limited access to affordable baby food. Using a “pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA” as their ‘holy grail’ spokesperson.


Focusing fear tactics on historically exploited populations including “Hispanic and African Americans and the poor;” and “Befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process.” The incredible arrogance by which big Industry is addressing consumer concerns is evidenced by Johnson & Johnson’s retort to the May 27, 2009 letter by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to J&J’s CEO William C. Weldon; asking that its products made for children don’t contain hidden carcinogenic contaminants 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde – which also occurs in most main brand Toothpastes as contaminants of ingredients. Both of these chemicals cause cancer in animals, and formaldehyde is also known to cause skin rashes in people who are sensitive to the chemical.

So what is J&J’s response? It chastises the messenger: “We are disappointed that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has inaccurately characterized the safety of our products, misrepresented the overwhelming consensus of scientists and government agencies that review the safety of ingredients, and unnecessarily alarmed parents”

Then they go on and grossly distort the facts: “The FDA and other government agencies around the world consider these trace levels safe, and all our products meet or exceed the regulatory requirements in every country where they are sold.” But the FDA does not regulate cosmetics and does not require companies to test their own products for safety. Moreover J&J is well able to market products without these toxins in Japan, in order to comply with regulations. So it is, once again, all about profits, at the cost of safety.

Many of the toxic chemicals used bioaccumulate, meaning that they do not degrade in the body but build deposits, with every new ingestion – every use of the Toothpaste, these deposits grow. This fact is significant when we consider that these deposits are fed by other sources as well. For example, the most commonly used active ingredient in Toothpaste is Fluoride; add the Fluoride in the tap water, soft drinks, juices and other sources and you get exposed to doses far beyond any safety level.

In addition, these chemicals interact with other – product internal and external chemicals. For instance, Triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent in most Anti-bacterial Toothpastes (e.g. Colgate Total series) is interacting with chlorine in tap water and is being converted to Chloroform. It is obvious that all these chemicals take on a different – and mostly unresearched function when exposed to a myriad of volatile organic compounds, prescription drugs and food contaminants and process ingredients.

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