Study: Chemical Banned From Soap Accumulates On Toothbrushes

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s the most common antibacterial ingredient found in a lot of products, including make-up, toys and toothpaste, but new research says it can also linger on a toothbrush.

If you’re worried about exposure to antibacterial ingredients, it might be time to get a new toothbrush.

New research says an antibacterial product called triclosan found in some toothpaste can accumulate in the bristles.

The FDA has banned triclosan from soaps, wipes and gels, saying soap and water is just as effective but it’s still allowed to be in toothpaste.

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“What we found was quite surprising,” Wei Qui, a research associate, said.

The research team at University of Massachusetts tested 22 toothbrushes.

They found that even if people switch to a toothpaste that doesn’t contain triclosan, they’re still exposed if they continue to use the same toothbrush.

“For on average a two-week period after switching toothpaste, but not toothbrush, you’re still being exposed to that triclosan,” Elizabeth Campbell, a research assistant, said.

Triclosan can increase the problem of antibiotic resistance and there’s some evidence it could disrupt hormones.

Fred Barnett, chairman of Einstein’s Department of Dental Medicine, says exposure to triclosan from toothpaste is limited and it’s actually very good for people with gum disease.

“Triclosan has been shown to be extremely effective reduce gingivitis, plaque bleeding gums, so it is actually a very, very good product for oral health,” he explained.

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Barnett says toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, and if people are concerned about triclosan, look at the ingredient label on your toothpaste. There are plenty of brands that don’t contain it.

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