So how toxic is toothpaste?

Someone told me that told me that toothpaste had enough toxicity that if a truck carrying a load of toothpast had a wreck, it would be considered a hazardous waste. I can see how a big pile of toothpast in the highway would be a hazard, but would it qualify as “hazardous waste.”

I did remind him of the danger of water, and what it does to iron and wood if they’re subjected to it for long periods.

It’s not as tinfoil hat territory as you might think. The active ingredient in toothpaste is Sodium Fluoride which is nasty stuff if kept in a jar. In a tube (or tanker), not so much.

don’t forget stannous fluoride

Tubes of toothpaste always say ‘avoid swallowing’ on the label—what’s the issue here? If you swallow it are you going to get a tummy ache and the screaming runs, or is it actually poisonous?

Search for threads on here about toothpaste and you’ll probably get some better info. Toothpaste warnings come up twice a year. It’s basically scarelore. Or just bad understanding of science.

As far as swallowing tootpaste warnings—don’t let your youngster 2-6 swallow large amounts. Not that they’re gonna die. But that’s what the warning is about. Basically just an “ass-covering” warning.

I definitely wouldn’t cover my ass with toothpaste!

But here is a listing of placards mandated by the USDOT. Clicking on “TOXIC” we get this:

And so on.

Toothpaste has about 0.15%, or 1500 ppm concentration of fluoride (about 1500 times that of fluoridated water). Regardless of what volume of toothpaste we’re talking about, the concentration of fluoride stays the same.

This is a remnant of the John Birch Society/Buck Turgidson mythology about fluoridization of water. A substance which, in large quantities is toxic, prevents tooth decay in tiny quantities. It’s amazing that the myth has survived this long.