Wicked, Not So Fresh: Tom's of Maine Mouthwash

Tom's of Maine isn't owned by Tom and is not from Maine.  Its owned by massive Colgate-Palmolive of New York who purchased a 84% stake in 2006 for 100 million dollars.  Colgate-Palmolive's 44% share in the global toothpaste market and 35% share here in the US largely depends on its patented formula for gingivitis which contains a toxic biocide known as triclosan. It is responsible for contributing to antibiotic resistant "super bugs" and breaks down into chloroform, a human carcinogen. Not quite the type of corporation you might expect to product a 100% natural product, eh?  And we haven't even touched on the subject of sodium fluoride! 

Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash: "Natural" Ingredients? 

 

 

               "Zinc Chloride: Derived from purified Zinc from the Earth" - Purpose: "Fresh Breath"

Using Tom's "greenwashed logic": Uranium-238 "comes from the earth" and in its "purified form" is used to make weapons of mass destruction - does that make it "natural" and worthy of being included in their mouthwash?

 

So what is Zinc Chloride? 


Zinc chloride is classified, according to the Dangerous Substance Directive (one of the main European Union laws concerning chemical safety), as “Harmful (Xn), Irritant (Xi) and Dangerous for the environment (N).”  It is so corrosive, in fact, that aqueous solutions are capable of dissolving starch, silk and even cellulose.

 

This is what the Material Data Safety Sheet shows...

view the MSDS here

The oral LD50 dose (the dose actutely lethal to 50% of lab rats) is 350 mg per kilogram. A lab rat is approximately .5 kilograms (500 grams), so 175 mg is enough to kill 50% of test animals. Chronic low-dose toxicity is not even considered; nor is the synergistic toxicity associated with exposure to multiple chemicals simultaneously.

For additional research on the harmful effects of Zinc Chloride view the Greenmedinfo.com research page.

You can also view the Environmental Working Group's page on Zinc Chloride here.


THE VERDICT:

Tom's of Maine's Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash is a perfect example of a greenwashed product. The active ingredient is a toxic biocide repackaged as a "therapeutic" and "natural" substance. If a child were to accidentally consume this product, the consequences could be devastating, if not deadly.

Adults also have reason to be concerned for their health, as this chemical may lead to the growth of antibiotic resistant mouth bacteria and the ingestion of small quantities, as occurs with the use of all mouthwash, will add to the increasingly over-loaded body burden of toxic chemicals we are exposed to daily. 

See our other Product Analyses.