Our Policy on Ingredient Safety: Earning Your Confidence for Generations, Every Day
Every day, millions of families around the world show their confidence in Colgate-Palmolive. They trust our toothpaste and toothbrushes for their families, rely on our soaps and body washes to stay healthy and fresh, choose our cleaners to care for their homes, and feed our pet foods to the dogs and cats they love.
Colgate began earning this confidence more than 200 years ago by offering the highest quality products. And we know the trust we've earned over generations has to be earned anew every day.
Earning your trust begins with the ingredients we choose.
Committed to Safety and Science
All of the ingredients we use in our products are safe for people and the environment. They meet our strict safety standards and all applicable government regulations everywhere they are sold around the world.
The decisions we make on ingredients are based on a thorough evaluation of the latest scientific evidence. When we choose an ingredient - whether to contribute to the performance of a product or to keep it safe against microorganisms - it is first prescreened by a team of Colgate scientists. Every ingredient is assessed alone and within a formula to ensure that nothing unexpected will occur. Our ingredient review assesses not just what happens in our laboratories but across a range of real-world conditions - during manufacturing, in transportation, at the store, in consumers' homes, and after consumer use.
We continuously monitor and evaluate the safety of our ingredients and we actively engage with outside experts and resources to understand emerging science and deepen our knowledge. We seek the facts so that we can make the right decisions.
Listening to Consumers
We want consumers to continue to have confidence in our products and the ingredients we use. Our ingredient information is easily accessible in the Drug Facts labels of our toothpastes and mouthwashes and on the labels of many other products. In addition, all of our packages display our toll free Consumer Affairs number so consumers can get answers to ingredient questions. We listen to our consumers and the questions they raise about ingredients.
Where we see opportunities regarding ingredients that are raising consumer questions, we substitute with other safe ingredients that provide the same or better benefits without sacrificing quality. Through this ongoing effort, we no longer use -- or are on our way to eliminating -- some of the ingredients currently raising consumer questions. We're listening and formulating our products with our consumers in mind, to keep earning their confidence.
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Donors
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound found throughout the environment. It is sometimes used as a preservative in cosmetics, personal care products and home care products. Formaldehyde donors are compounds that allow for the gradual release of formaldehyde, at low, safe levels to inhibit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and mold. Both formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors have been judged safe at levels set by regulators around the world.
While Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Donors are safe when used at approved regulatory levels, we recognize that consumers have questions. Colgate-Palmolive does not add formaldehyde to any of our products and is committed to eliminating formaldehyde donors from our formulations. We do not use formaldehyde donors as a preservative system in any of our Oral Care products, and by the end of 2015, we expect to eliminate their use as a preservative in our Personal Care and Home Care products.
Parabens are widely used preservatives, commonly found in foods, cosmetics and drug products. They are usually easy to identify by name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben. Parabens inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold to maintain product integrity and protect consumer safety.
Parabens have been used for many years, reviewed by regulatory bodies around the world, and are considered safe. However, some consumers have questions about their safety. Parabens can be found in very low levels in some of our products. To maintain consumer confidence, we are reformulating our products using alternative, safe preservative systems. We expect to complete this effort by the end of 2015.
Phthalates are a group of organic compounds used in hundreds of products. They have been used safely for many years in personal care products, including to improve the performance of fragrances.
Use of phthalates in our formulas is limited to diethyl phthalate (DEP), which has a favorable safety profile and has been approved by regulators around the world. Our suppliers use low levels of DEP to ensure that the fragrances we use remain fully dispersed in our products. Although there is no accepted scientific basis for avoiding phthalates, some consumers question their safety, so we have partnered with suppliers to restrict their use in new fragrances, and have targeted their elimination from all of our products by the end of 2014.
Triclosan is the antibacterial ingredient in Colgate Total toothpaste, where the proven therapeutic benefits it provides as part of our unique copolymer system are unsurpassed. Colgate Total is clinically proven to work better than other toothpastes to reduce the germs that can cause the gum disease gingivitis. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to recognize the effectiveness and safety of triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste.
We remain strongly committed to Colgate Total, which is the only toothpaste that has undergone the FDA’s rigorous New Drug Application process for safety and efficacy. It is supported by more than 80 clinical studies involving 19,000 people, it’s clinically proven benefits are unsurpassed, and it is approved by regulators and recommended by the dental profession around the world. Colgate Total is The Number One Trusted Choice
Triclosan has also been used for many years as an antibacterial ingredient in soaps, body washes, deodorants and other products. It has been reviewed and approved as safe by regulators around the world. Most recently, an expert European scientific committee approved the use of triclosan in rinse-off cosmetic products following a full review of the scientific evidence. However, we recognize that some consumers have questions about triclosan and choose to avoid this ingredient in products where they believe it does not deliver a benefit to health. So while the use of triclosan continues to be permitted by regulators around the world, we have reformulated our antibacterial dish liquid and hand soaps with alternate active ingredients that provide the same or superior performance.
Microplastics and microbeads are used in some household cleaning, oral care and other products to enhance aesthetics and aid in cleaning. Some groups have raised concerns regarding the potential contribution of micro beads to pollution of the world’s oceans.
These ingredients are safe and their use is permitted. Scientific evidence to date indicates that the presence of micro plastics at sea is mainly due to the disintegration of larger plastics in ocean water rather than ingredients in personal care products. However, we recognize that consumers have questions and are reformulating with alternate ingredients the small number of our products containing microplastics. Much of this work has already been accomplished, and the process will be completed by 2014.