Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toothbrushes & Toothpaste


Remember the summer of `07 scare about poison toothpaste from China? The FDA warned consumers to discard toothpaste made in China as it may be tainted with diethylene glycol, a component of antifreeze. Ouch!

As far as I know, a major recall of toothbrushes hasn’t happened yet
but, any day now I expect to see warnings about toothbrushes made in China. My guess it will be for lead in the plastic. But maybe the Chinese figure they have played out the And-the-secret-ingredient-is-LEAD! trick by now, so they will have to come up with some new and horribly cunning way to poison us. I’m not willing to wait for that day, so I am buying Made In USA dental hygiene products from here on.

Recently I asked my daughter-in-law to conduct an informal survey of toothbrushes on her next shopping trip. (She does most of the family grocery shopping.)

A couple days ago she went to a local Target here in Austin. She looked over each of the toothbrushes and here is the breakdown on their country of origin as sold by Target:

BRAND............ COUNTRY......... MODELS

CREST.............. China.................. All
REACH............. China................. All
COLGATE......... China....................2
......................... Switzerland ..........1
ORAL-B............. USA ....................4
.......................... Germany..............1

The results of this survey may be incomplete and totally anecdotal, but they do tell us
one thing for sure; toothbrushes made in the USA are getting harder to find. And also, that you can’t trust any product, no matter how well-known, to be made here in the US and not in China.

Crest and Reach are two of the biggest, most well-known brands of toothbrushes and they are made in China. These companies are sell outs. Their CEO's don’t care about you or me or our country. They only care about their profits. I don't know about you, but I am really getting sick of big corporations taking our $$, selling us crappy products and sending jobs overseas to China. It is really starting to make me mad.

I say, show these companies your displeasure by shunning their products. And while you're at it, call their customer service department and voice your anger, send an email or write a snailmail to them. I sent an email to Crest and Johnson & Johnson, and it made me feel a little better.

And if you are really fired up, how about sending an email or a letter or phone call to your government representative and/or the White House. (To locate the name and contact info for your government rep click here. For the White House, click here. And for your state governor, click here.)

Here is the snail mail and phone contact info for CREST:

Procter & Gamble Co.
Address: P.O. Box 599
City: Cincinnati
State: OH
Zip Code: 45201
Telephone Number: 513-983-1100
Fax Number: 513-562-4500
Toll Free Number: 800-543-7270
Johnson & Johnson, is the maker (or rather distributor, since the Chinese are the real makers) of REACH toothbrushes. Here is their contact info:
Johnson & Johnson
Address: 1 Johnson & Johnson Plaza
City: New Brunswick
State: NJ
Zip Code: 08933
Telephone Number: 732-524-0400


On a more positive note . . .

While shopping at Wheatsville, our local food co-op, my daughter-in-law discovered a Made in USA brand of toothbrushes. She bought everyone in the family a little surprise; a new toothbrush they could trust. The brand is POH. It is simple in design, inexpensive and safe.

So far, I have been very happy with my unpretentious, but well made POH toothbrush. The look and feel of the brush reminds me of my childhood.

As I do for any product or company I write about on my blog, I traveled to their web site to gather a little more information.

On the POH web site it says they have been supplying toothbrushes and dental floss to the US military PX’s and BX’s since 1961. Unfortunately for POH, they say they lost their floss contract with the Army/Air Force Exchange Service in 2006. I wonder what floss the Army/Airforce is using now? One from China maybe? hmmm.

While on their web site,
as a show of support, I ordered some POH dental floss (also cuz I need some floss). The POH floss comes in a metal and plastic canister which looks really cool and cost $3.00. I ordered several and some additional toothbrushes ($1 each) for the family. I’ll post an update after I’ve tried the floss to let you know how I like it.

As for toothpaste, there are two Made In USA brands that I have used (and still do). The first is Tom’s Of Maine, which is pretty easy to find in most stores. Tom’s toothpaste is, of course, all natural and comes in several flavors, both with and without fluoride. I have been using Tom’s of Maine since the 70’s and it is a good brand.

But my current personal favorite is Nature’s Gate toothpaste. I just started using the
Cool Mint Gel Natural Toothpaste and I like the taste better than any of the Tom’s of Maine that I have used so far.

BTW, the Department of Dental Hygiene, at Texas Woman's University in Denton did a comparative study of the plaque removal ability of toothbrushes in 1990. One of the brands they chose to use for the test was POH. I have included the text of the summary of the study. They compared the POH against the Alli-Croc (?) children’s toothbrush and the POH won.


From the NCBI/PUB MED database

Comparative analysis of the plaque removal ability of .007 and .008 toothbrush bristles. Beatty CF, Fallon PA, Marshall DD.

Department of Dental Hygiene, Texas Woman's University, Denton.

A two-phase study was conducted to compare the plaque-removal effectiveness of a .007 toothbrush and a .008 toothbrush when used in an unsupervised home-care program. In the first phase of the study, two children's toothbrushes, a .007 toothbrush (POH Junior #8) and a .008 toothbrush (Allie-Croc), were compared in a population of third through sixth grade children. The .007 group had a greater reduction of plaque from pretest to post-test than the .008 group in all grades, with statistically significant differences favoring the .007 toothbrush for fourth and sixth grades. In phase two a .007 adult toothbrush (POH #4) was compared to a .008 adult toothbrush (Oral B 40) in a population of nursing and dental hygiene students. Both toothbrushes performed equally well with a significant decrease in plaque and gingival inflammation observed from pretest to post-test regardless of toothbrush used. Any changes in soft-tissue abrasion were negligible and not statistically significant. Based on the results of this study, both brushes appear to be safe and effective and can be recommended with confidence.

PMID: 2095314 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Speaking of Sell Outs: Baby Jogger


As I stated in my About Me section, I am about to have a new grandchild in the family. We expect him/her to arrive in April `08. So, of course, everyone in the family is excited and fluffing the nest in anticipation of the little stranger. We are hunting and gathering items, hoping to find good, safe, eco-friendly, MADE IN USA, products.

One of the items we have been searching for is a stroller, any stroller, made in the US. So far, we have had zero results in this area. My daughter-in-law checks every time she shops in a store that carries strollers. I have Googled repeatedly, searched every stroller maker’s website I can think of and even set up a Google alert which sends me search results daily. Still, we cannot find any US manufactured baby strollers.

I thought I had finally found one when I came across The Baby Jogger. I had seen it mentioned several times by other bloggers, as well as on several websites, each stated it was a US company which manufactured baby (jogging) strollers in the US. I went on their web site to investigate. Their About Us/History page briefly mentions the original maker of the baby jogger stroller as “Phil Baechler, a local newspaper journalist” who established "The Baby Jogger Company” in 1984. The rest of the page is bloated with boasting about the “high quality” and claims to be the “leading designer and manufacturer of high performance jog strollers.” Wow, I thought. Perfect!

So, just to be sure, I emailed the Sales department and asked if I could tour their factory. Here was the response I got:

BJ Sales
to --- <>,
date Jan 21, 2008 9:07 AM
subject RE: Product question about baby joggers

hide details 9:07 AM (10 hours ago)


Dear -----,

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Baby Jogger Company. Our products are manufactured in China, not the US, and unfortunately it is a private factory that is not open to the general public.

Please let me know if I can answer any further questions for you.


Erica Jutzin

The Baby Jogger Company

800-241-1848 x1139 (PH)

804-262-6277 (FX)



So, we are still searching for a baby stroller manufactured here in the USA. If anyone out there knows if such a thing exists, please email me ASAP.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Wine: Buy domestic, not imported

Wine. Mmmmm. I love wine. Wine with cheese. Wine with chocolate. Wine with fruit. Wine with fondue. Wine with chips and dip. Wine with anything, really. Did I say I love wine?

But alas, I don’t drink wine or any alcohol anymore (doctor’s orders). If you do however, and you want to support our US economy, and you want be more green by shopping locally (shorter shipping = less fuel waste = better for the environment)--consider buying domestic instead of imported wines. Put your money where your principles are, I say.

Here in Texas we are lucky, we have our own little “Napa Valley” thing going on in the hill country. Personally, I used to love to drink Llano and Fall
Creek wines, they are both delicious.

For a list of Texas wineries and tour information you can go to Texas Hill Country Wineries home. Or for an even bigger list of US wineries, check out

Buying local wine is one easy AND fun way to do the right thing.