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Toothpaste Analysis

The toothpaste is the product that people use on a daily basis to make their teeth healthy, breath fresh, and prevent possible diseases. The current paper will analyze the toothpaste “Colgate Total” in regard to its ingredients’ list, manufacturing process, and possible harmful influences to human health and the environment.

The toothpaste “Colgate Total” is manufactured by the U.S. multinational brand Colgate-Palmolive Company (Berger 14). It focuses on the manufacturing and marketing of different personal hygiene, health care, and household products. The toothpaste incorporates two active ingredients, including sodium fluoride 0.24% (for the anticavity purpose) and triclosan 0.30% (for the antigingivitis purpose) (Berger 17). In addition, it incorporates fourteen inactive ingredients, including water, hydrated silica, sorbitol, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium saccharin, titanium dioxide, etc (Berger 17).  The most harmful and hazardous ingredient is triclosan. Despite the fact that the long-range research on human beings is very small and actually lacking, numerous studies have analyzed the influence of triclosan on rats and mice and revealed unfavorable health affects in case of high concentrations use (Bedoux et al. 1049). These affects incorporate lowered fertility level together with an increased risk of cancer (Bedoux et al. 1049). Nevertheless, it is highly complicated to predict whether these results would happen among human beings, particularly due to the fact that people have been exposed to this toxic ingredient in numerous products for several decades (Bedoux et al. 1050). Triclosan is known to be a germicide facet, which assists in lowing or stopping the development and growth of bacteria, fungus, and mold. In addition, several other animal studies have revealed that triclosan changes the hormone regulation (Bedoux et al. 1044). Nevertheless, this data cannot predict the affects on humans. Some of the studies on bacteria have demonstrated the possibility that triclosan may actually make bacteria impervious to antibiotics (Dhillon et al. 5658). Taking into account all of these studies, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been engaged in a continuous scientific and regulatory analysis of triclosan. This analysis reveals that there is no sufficient security evidence which might currently be used to recommend altering consumer utilization of products that contain the ingredient (Dhillon et al. 5658). On the other hand, Environment Canada has categorized the ingredient as feasibly toxic in regard to aquatic organisms as it appears to be bio-accumulative and resistant (Bedoux et al. 1053). It practically means that tricilosan does not degrade easily and can collect in the environment after being rinsed down the shower drain. Moreover, triclosan has a tendency to react in the environment, forming dioxins, which also bio-accumulate and appear as toxic (Dhillon et al. 5658). Due to the fact that the duration of triclosan in individual product utilization is comparatively short, only substantial quantities (170,000 – 970,000 kg/yr) can be seriously harmful, having the ability to break through wastewater treatment plants and damage algae on surface waters (Dhillon et al. 5661). In addition, triclosan has a capability to stick to other substances in aquatic settings, which feasibly endangers marine organisms and might cause additional bioaccumulation (Dhillon et al. 5661). On the other hand, sodium fluoride, another active ingredient in the toothpaste, is also regarded as toxic in high doses (Nabavi et al. 369). The studies demonstrate that huge ingestion of fluoride salts can provoke fatal arrhythmias. In addition, chronical over-absorption can provoke solidification of bones, petrifaction of ligaments, and accruing on teeth (Nabavi et al. 369). It is also known that fluoride can provoke the corrosion and irritation of eyes, skin, and nasal membranes. It is also important to understand that the lethal dosage for a 70 kg human being starts at 5–10 g disposal (Nabavi et al. 369). Therefore, sodium fluoride is categorized as toxic by both inhalation (of both aerosols and dust) and ingestion. High dosages can negatively affect the heart and circulatory system (Oldan et al. 1437). Nevertheless, this ingredient is not regarded to be an environmental toxin (Oldan et al. 1437).

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This toothpaste is manufactured in the U.S., in the Colgate-Palmolive facility in Morristown, Tennessee (Berger 14). All of the ingredients appearing in the toothpaste are acquired in the U.S. or created in this facility (Berger 14). The acquisition of ingredients does not have any possible negative impacts on human health or the environment. Generally speaking, “Colgate Total” toothpaste available for purchase in the U.S. is produced entirely in Colgate possessed and controlled manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico (Berger 14). All of these facilities meet the rigorous standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The manufacturing facility in Morristown, Tennessee, employs more than 220 people (Berger 19). It is designed, operated, and controlled in accordance with individual Colgate’s rigorous global standards and FDA regulatory requirements. The level of Colgate facility emissions accounted for 675,000 metric tons in 2014 (Dhillon et al. 5684). Nevertheless, the company understands its environmental footprint. Therefore, it lowered the quantities of energy required to produce a ton of the product by about 28 percent and reduced the quantity of water required by estimated 42 percent (Colgate-Palmolive). In addition, Colgate-Palmolive acknowledged new packaging commitments (Colgate-Palmolive). The facts reveal that the company has agreed to set objectives to make all its packaging recyclable by 2020 (Colgate-Palmolive). Moreover, the company committed to developing a recyclable toothpaste tube. Finally, the company appears to be ready to elevate the medium recyclable content of its packaging by at least 50 percent (Colgate-Palmolive). The facts demonstrate that the facility’s greenhouse emissions were reduced by 16 percent in 2014. In addition, the manufacturing process lowered the energy and water per ton of the product manufactured to 17 percent and 32 percent accordingly (Colgate-Palmolive). Moreover, the waste sent to the landfill per ton of the product is reduced by 17 percent (Colgate-Palmolive). Therefore, it appears obvious that the company attempts to make the manufacturing process as environmentally friendly as possible. It also appears that the manufacturing process does not affect human rights (Berger 20). Colgate Company has a solid inner rule of opposing exploitive, inhumane labor operations and practices. The company is known to oppose the unlawful utilization of the child labor, the exploitation of children, and all other possibilities of objectionable workers’ treatment (Berger 20). In addition, the Colgate’s policy does not allow the company to operate with any contractor or supplier who is believed to operate with objectionable and inadmissible worker treatment, incorporating the children exploitation, physical penalties, women abuse, backward subjugation, etc (Berger 20). Therefore, it becomes obvious that Colgate is committed to the global human rights and the respect of them on a global basis. This is the main reason why the company provides equal opportunities for employees “at all levels regardless of color, race, gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, disability or religious beliefs” (Berger 21). In addition, the company guarantees a healthy and secure workplace while protecting the environment and human health (Berger 21). Moreover, the wages are sustained at the level which provides Colgate employees with a possibility to meet at least the basic needs (Berger 21).

Nevertheless, there is one problem with the company: Colgate-Palmolive tests their products on animals (Woods 156). Despite the fact that Colgate-Palmolive agreed to systematically alter their policy, the company continues to test their products on animals (Woods 156). The facts show that the company is currently working toward regulatory alterations, which will assist in lowering the quantity of animals used for testing. This does not presuppose that the company can be regarded as cruelty-free, or will be regarded with this status in the near future. This is merely a small step in the appropriate direction (Woods 156). The company has declared a voluntary moratorium on all animal testing of all adult individual care products and ingredients utilized in these products. The company states that 99 percent of inner requests for security analysis of the products are addressed by utilizing accessible databases together with non-animal alternatives (Colgate-Palmolive). The company states that all animal tests are merely performed if they are specifically required by regulatory agencies or in case when different alternative testing modes cannot assure the security of individual products, including “Colgate Total” (Colgate-Palmolive). The alternative methods utilized by the company incorporate computer extensive databases, in-vitro estimations, and human clinical examinations (Colgate-Palmolive). Consequently, when the company starts to analyze the security of the product and ingredients, it uses computer databases. The company scientists have access to governmental, independent agency, company, industry, and organizational data from studies which have already been conducted both by means of animal and non-animal tests. This actually allows to avoid the necessity of re-testing (Colgate-Palmolive). On the other hand, in-vitro testing utilizes the cell culture or tissue system tests. These are non-animal and non-human alternatives for analyzing new company products or required changes (Colgate-Palmolive). For example, the company scientists have developed an artificial mouth which simulates the human mouth dynamics (Colgate-Palmolive). Finally, human clinical testing is crucially significant for the production security. Only these studies assist the company in gaining the knowledge required to protect human health. For example, they show how exactly the toothpaste “Colgate Total” operates in the mouth (Colgate-Palmolive).

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The current analysis reveals that “Colgate Total” toothpaste appears to be manufactured in a proper manner, adhering to the existing human rights and environmental protection requirements. Moreover, the company utilizes all efforts to stop testing the products on animals. Nevertheless, the toothpaste includes one highly harmful ingredient, triclosan. Despite the fact that the existing studies cannot be tested in regard to the impact on human health, the possibility of feasible negative impacts is very high.