Short introduction video posted on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
Screenshot from this company’s Facebook ad
Photos of the actual product tested.
Continue reading below the photos.
April 29, 2022 – Friday
The Dirt Natural Toothpaste
STOP USING THIS TOOTHPASTE IMMEDIATELY
Let’s start by listing the ingredients on the label:
- Extra Fine Bentonite Clay [This is the first ingredient, which means it is a primary component of the product.]
- Aluminum Free Natural Baking Soda
- Organic Cinnamon
- Myrrh Gum Resin
- Organic Fair Trade Nutmeg
- Essential Oils of Organic Sweet Orange and Organic Cardamom
What the test results (listed in full, below) found:
- LEAD: Lead was non-detect with a reading of “Less than 3 parts per million.”
- What this means is that there could still be levels below three parts per million.
- For example a reading of 2 parts per million Lead is not ruled out.
- 2 parts per million is equal to 2,000 parts per billion.
- Food and drink are considered unsafe for Lead levels ranging from 1 ppb to 100 ppb, depending on the product (1 ppb = the AAP water limit and 100 ppb = the limit for Lead in candy.)
- So because the test result found using XRF technology is not specific enough to determine if there is an unsafe level of Lead in this product, further laboratory testing is warranted to determine if this product has an unsafe level of Lead (or not) – specifically, unsafe for something you intend to put in your mouth daily/multiple times each day.
- ANTIMONY: 22 ppm Antimony was found in this tooth cleaning powder. 22 ppm (parts per million) is equal to 22,000 parts per billion.
- In the context of any products containing heavy metals – and specifically products intended to go your mouth (like food, water, supplements, etc.) – toxicity is measured at levels of 1-100 parts per billion (per the limits for Lead noted above) — NOT at the 3-orders-of-magnitude-higher level of parts per million.
- Understood from that perspective, this is a staggering amount of Antimony to find in a toothpaste.
- Antimony was added to the official list of known carcinogens in December of 2021 (link with details here) and while I am not aware of any official limits (as I write this) for Antimony in food / supplements / beverages (items you may ingest) yet, I believe that is only because Antimony has not been well-studied to date, and there is no regulatory inquiry (no inquiry into setting regulatory limits for Antimony in food or other ingestible substances)… YET.
- Please correct me if I am somehow wrong on this explanation (send links to any studies you know of!)
- Since I don’t have science to link to to argue this point, I will not be focusing on this concern (which is however, obviously not insignificant) Here’s a screenshot of / link to one relevant reference consistent with my understanding:
- CADMIUM: Cadmium is an undisputed carcinogen (stated more simply, Cadmium causes cancer).
- I discuss Cadmium toxicity in food at length in this post – link.
- For context: the European standard for the amount of Cadmium allowable in chocolate — a quantitatively comparable exposure source (comparable to toothpaste) because chocolate is ostensibly eaten infrequently, and in small amounts — ranges from 100 to 800 parts per billion, depending on the type of chocolate.
- So if chocolate [specifically, dark chocolate that is 50% cocoa or higher] tests positive for more than 800 parts per billion Cadmium, it is considered unsafe / toxic — and illegal in Europe.
- With that background, it is absolutely shocking to have learned that this tooth powder tests positive for 19ppm (parts per million) Cadmium.
- This is the equivalent of nineteen thousand (19,000) parts per billion Cadmium!
- This tooth powder tests positive for a known carcinogen at levels that are 2,300% (23 x) the (European) allowable limits for dark chocolate.
Cadmium content: A good candidate for a voluntary recall?
It is for this reason (after discovering the XRF test results for this toothpaste today), it is my educated opinion that this product should be recalled. It is unlikely that it will be recalled, though — because we do not have toxicity limits for toothpaste in the United States, and thus these levels are not illegal! — but it still should be recalled.
If this company were a responsible company, they would initiate a voluntary recall. Because the company seems demonstrably (based on the company name) solely focused on selling bentonite clay products — and a voluntary recall of their contaminated bentonite clay products (which I expect would be all of their products) would likely decimate them financially, I anticipate they will do nothing in response to learning of these findings (although – if they are not familiar with the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC, they will possibly send me a “cease and desist” letter from their legal team (asking me to “take down” the publication of these findings).)
… and the GREENWASHING!…
Lastly, [since I am not a user of this product and it has not impacted my family personally] – I can say that I think the overall greenwashing in the marketing of this product is absolutely hysterical — they really take the cake on this one!
- “No Fluoride”,
- “No Glycerin”,
- “No Xylitol”,
- “Paleo Friendly”,
- “Gluten Free”,
- & “Vegan”!
What you might learn / takeaway from this (especially if you are new here on the Lead Safe Mama website) is that something can be all of these things (from Fluoride-free to Vegan) — and still be incredibly toxic and unsafe for consumption / use by humans. [Lead itself is Fluoride-free and Vegan – and all of those other things listed above!] Just because something meets all of the criteria for the qualifiers above, does not mean it is a reasonable thing to incorporate into your home and daily routines (let alone a reasonable thing to put into your mouth once or more every day.)
Important points and takeaways
- Cease the use of this particular product immediately.
- If you have been using this product (or any similar product) consider asking your doctor for a blood, hair or urine test that will show your current heavy metal exposure. [Link with more info on that here.]
- Based on my findings from testing several bentonite-based products – from multiple companies – at this point, I would cease using any and ALL bentonite clay-based personal care products — they simply have not been proven safe – and, in fact, have been demonstrated to be potentially quite dangerous and damaging to human health [see link, below].
- While this particular batch of clay (the batch used to make this bottle of tooth powder that was tested for this article) tested positive for a high level of Cadmium, given the inherent potential for batch-to-batch variation, there’s no reason another batch might not test even higher for Cadmium – or for that matter test positive for an unsafe level of Lead [Here’s another recent personal care bentonite clay product [from a different company] that tested positive for an unsettling amount of Lead – link.]
- Bentonite clay is also not appropriate for any “detox” uses — as the frequent exposures to the products (in baths or in other forms) is actually likely to increase your body’s heavy metal burden, not decrease it! The myth floating around that bentonite clay has “an ionic charge” that “binds to Lead in the body to assist the body with elimination” is complete hogwash — exposed by a rudimentary knowledge of science [interesting fact: the “study” that several folks folks who perpetuate this fanciful notion nonchalantly cite as a reference in making that ridiculous claim – “Cooper 2009” – does not exist!] This article discusses “the surprising dangers of bentonite clay” – link.
Full XRF Test Results For This Toothpaste
Tested multiple times to confirm the results
- Lead (Pb): non-detect – (less than 3 ppm)
- Cadmium (Cd): 19 +/- 2 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): non-detect – (less than 8 ppm)
- Bromine (Br): 4 +/- 1 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): non-detect – (less than 147 ppm)
- Iron (Fe): 8,139 +/- 153 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 21 +/- 6 ppm
- Niobium (Nb): 450 +/- 9 ppm
- Indium (In): 25 +/- 3 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 12 +/- 4 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 22 +/- 5 ppm
- Platinum (Pt): 23 +/- 12 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 10 +/- 3 ppm
- No other metals detected in consumer goods mode.
For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a Federal-award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. Tamara’s sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in August of 2005. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. Tamara uses XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals), including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic. All test results reported on this website are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Items are tested multiple times, to confirm the test results for each component tested and reported on. Please click through to this link to learn more about the testing methodology used for the test results discussed and reported on this website.
There are so many clay-based and zeolite based products that could be contaminated. Thank you Tamara for alerting us about this one. I think zeolite and clay can be beneficial- if they are not contaminated!
I have not found uncontaminated sources.
Donna S says
Interesting. What do you recommend that is safe for tooth brushing?
Here are some toothpaste recommendations: https://tamararubin.com/2017/03/saferchoices-toothpastes-i-use-in-my-home-with-my-family/
Kylee Patton says
Oh my goodness!!!!!!! I’ve been using on my kids they are 4 and 6…been using for at least 4-5 years! We used the paste not powder! Do you recommend lead testing for the kiddos?
I think it might be worthwhile to get a full heavy metals panel (urine or hair) and definitely look for Cadmium and Antimony if you do. Here’s some more information about that (ask your doctor!): https://tamararubin.com/2020/05/i-heard-that-urine-and-hair-tests-for-heavy-metals-including-lead-were-not-real-or-useful-test-results-why-is-this/