Shoppers Ditching Colgate Total Amid Triclosan Fears

In this Jan. 26, 2011 photo, Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush are posed in Phoenix. (The Canadian Press/AP, Ross D. Franklin)
In this Jan. 26, 2011 photo, Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush are posed in Phoenix. (The Canadian Press/AP, Ross D. Franklin)
In this Jan. 26, 2011 photo, Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush are posed in Phoenix. (The Canadian Press/AP, Ross D. Franklin)

(Business Week) – Earlier this week, Angela Pollock ditched Colgate Total toothpaste after using it for about 15 years and bought Crest Pro-Health instead.

Pollock, a 57-year-old sociology teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee, had just learned that Colgate Total contained triclosan, an antibacterial chemical linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals.

“If Colgate is that lax in putting this kind of chemical in their product, I don’t think I’ll buy other Colgate-Palmolive brands,” Pollock said.

Total is a tiny percentage of Colgate-Palmolive Co.’s sales, but it’s inextricably entwined with the Colgate brand so the triclosan controversy could inflict long-term damage, said Michael Stone, who runs Beanstalk, a New York-based brand-licensing agency owned by Omnicom Group Inc.

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