Öko-Test: Lead and carcinogenic substances in toothpaste

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Already the children’s toothpaste delivered shocking results. For 17 of the 48 adult products, there was an “unsatisfactory” because of the ingredients.

Many manufacturers use the dye titanium dioxide for bright white toothpaste despite this substance being considered potentially carcinogenic. The magazine “Öko-Test” had recently detected the importance of several children’s toothpaste, and now adult toothpaste has been tested. In 21 of 48 kinds of toothpaste, the “whitener” is still part of the formula.

Titanium dioxide was also often used as an additive to make food look whiter, shinier or smoother. In 2022, however, the European Food Safety Authority banned the substance because the “whitener” can damage genetic material and be carcinogenic. The substance has not yet been banned from cosmetic products, which include toothpaste.

A total of 17 kinds of toothpaste received an “unsatisfactory” because of questionable ingredients. Among them are three products from Colgate. Among the winners of the toothpaste are the “Alverde 5 in 1 toothpaste Nanaminze”, the “Dontodent Kräuter toothpaste,” the “Dentalux 3-Fach Schutz Frische Gel” and also “Elmex Kariesschutz.”

Surprisingly, natural cosmetic toothpaste did not score well, as many do not contain fluoride. However, it has been scientifically proven that fluoride protects against caries. In addition, lead, which can accumulate in the body and damage the nervous system, was detected in much fluoride-free toothpaste.

But another ingredient was criticized by the testers: Sodium lauryl sulphate. Fourteen of the products tested contain this substance, which is mainly responsible for the foam when brushing teeth. However, sodium lauryl sulphate can irritate the oral mucosa and promote the development of inflammations in the mouth, so-called aphthae.

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