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Nina In New York: Brushing Your Teeth Will Cut You In Your Sleep (Maybe, Not Exactly)

Toothbrushes (credit: Clip Art)

Toothbrushes (credit: Clip Art)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
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By Nina Pajak

This week in “Everything You Know and Love Will Kill You,” more things you know and love are exposed for the wanton murderers they really are.

News broke this week that the antibacterial chemical called Triclosan, which is found in popular toothpaste brand, Colgate Total, as well as many soaps, body washes, deodorants, cosmetics, and more, has been linked to a whole lot of nasty stuff in mice and rats. Like cancer, fetal abnormalities, and other signs that it may disrupt their endocrine (hormone) systems.

The story naturally went viral, because who doesn’t love a good “BRUSHING YOUR TEETH WILL CUT YOU IN YOUR SLEEP” sort of headline (see above)? But the claim remains controversial, as no further studies have been done to prove that Triclosan produces the same effects in humans. It’s not a fait accompli, either, as BusinessInsider points out. In many cases, our bodies react differently to substances than those of animals. Plus, we’ve been exposed to small amounts of the chemical for decades as opposed to receiving a monster dose out of nowhere, as those poor rodents did. However, the FDA is apparently thirty years late on a promise to review Triclosan’s safety.

In the meantime, it does help prevent gingivitis, which I hear from elementary school plays is a real B. Not as big a B as, say, breast cancer or neurological damage in your newborn baby, but it’s a baddie alright. Then again, Colgate-Palmolive swears it’s totally fine, so I’m sure it is. When has a giant corporation ever cut corners and lied to the public in the name of selling a product? And when has the FDA ever had to backtrack on a previous allowance? Psht. Never, I bet. I cannot think of one single example.

Doo do doo do doo. Still nothing.

Anyway, it’s probably futile to go throwing away half your medicine cabinet, because I’m going to take this incident as a sign that nearly everything we use is likely filled with myriad other chemicals that scientists will eventually prove are all deadly in one way or another. Plus, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow! And then where will you be? Roadkill with stanky gums. What a pity.

Have a great weekend, if you dare.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!