Antibacterial Soaps With Triclosan, BPA Pose Risks

An emerging study out of the University of Michigan School of Public Health (U-M) suggests that young people overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing <"">triclosan may be at increased allergy risks and that those exposed to increased levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) might experience adverse immune system events, said Science Daily.

Triclosan is an antimicrobial found in antibacterial soaps, some toothpastes, and a range of consumer products. We have long written about the issue with triclosan and bacterial resistance; recently, the European Union’s (EU) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety issued a warning that triclosan could add to bacterial resistance calling for more studies. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed concern about bacterial resistance and data pointing to triclosan’s hormone disrupting properties.

In April, the FDA acknowledged soaps containing triclosan offer no additional benefit over regular soap and water and expressed concern over the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products and about triclosan’s potential long-term health effects. The FDA first proposed a rule to remove triclosan from soap in 1978.

Another hormone disruptor and estrogenic mimicker is bisphenol A—BPA—a ubiquitous plastics chemical linked to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy, premature puberty, polycystic ovarian syndrome, erectile dysfunction, and male sexual problems. Both chemicals are considered endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs).

The research team utilized data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and urinary levels of both chemicals with cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels as well as allergy or hay fever diagnoses in a sampling of U.S. adults and children over the age of six, said Science Daily.

“We found that people over age 18 with higher levels of BPA exposure had higher CMV antibody levels, which suggests their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly,” said Erin Rees Clayton, research investigator at the U-M School of Public Health and first author on the paper, quoted Science Daily. The team also found that those age 18 and under with higher levels of triclosan were likelier to report allergy and hay fever diagnoses, added Science Daily.

As we have long been reporting, there is increasing concern in science and among consumer advocates that EDCs are more dangerous to humans at levels lower than originally believed, said Science Daily.

“The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ which maintains living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to micro-organisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system,” said Allison Aiello, associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health, principal investigator on the study, and a visiting associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, quoted Science Daily. “It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good,” said Aiello.

The study also revealed that BPA exposure changed with age, said Rees Clayton. In those 18 or older, higher BPA levels were linked to higher CMV levels; the reverse was true in younger populations, said Science Daily. “This suggests the timing of the exposure to BPA and perhaps the quantity and length of time we are exposed to BPA may be affecting the immune system response,” Rees Clayton said, quoted Science Daily.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of toxic substances like triclosan is available at <"">

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