Toothpastes spreading superbugs

Toothpastes spreading superbugs

The EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, which provides scientific advice to the European Commission related to non-food issues, has said that triclosan may promote widespread bacterial resistance to antibiotics. The committee has also called for further safety studies to reconfirm its role in spreading superbugs, the Daily Mail reported.

The chemical is also used in handwashes and cosmetics. Laboratory studies have shown triclosan can trigger gene mutations in bacteria, enabling them to protect themselves against it.

When this happens, the bacteria release proteins which transport this new-found protection to other bacteria. This ‘cross-resistance’ has the potential to undermine the effectiveness of antibiotics and other life-saving medicines.

Studies have shown there are already bacterial mutations of E.coli, salmonella and listeria, which have some degree of resistance to triclosan. Meanwhile, Colgate Palmolive has said the benefits of adding triclosan to its Total range outweigh the risk. GlaxoSmithKline has however decided to withdraw triclosan from its range of products.

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