Human Triclosan Levels Up 50 Percent Since ’04

<"">Triclosan levels in humans have increased by 50 percent in just five years, writes Infection Control Today, citing emerging data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Triclosan—and triclocarban—are commonly found in antibacterial soaps and are suspected endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive and developmental harm in laboratory studies.

The CDC’s data, just added to National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, indicated that increased triclosan levels affect U.S. demographics of all ages, both sexes, and all reported ethnicities, with those over the age of 20, female, and Mexican-American being most affected, said Infection Control Today.
Laboratory studies indicate the chemicals can interfere with hormones critical for normal development and reproduction, which can lead to long-term health problems including poor sperm quality and infertility, and damage to the developing brain leading to poor learning and memory. Studies suggest triclosan and triclocarban may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Infection Control Today noted that both chemicals can be found in antibacterial or antimicrobial hand soaps. In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged soaps containing triclosan offer no additional benefit over regular soap and water and expressed concern about the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products and about triclosan’s potential long-term health effects, but never acted on rule-making to ban the chemical.

The FDA first proposed a rule to remove the chemicals from soaps in 1978. Until this rule is finalized, the chemicals can be widely used with no regulatory oversight—despite evidence that they are not effective and numerous studies link them to serious health risks. The growing use of these chemicals has led to widespread residues in the environment and in people; recent bio-monitoring results found residues in 75 percent of Americans over the age of six.

“The widespread and unregulated use of antimicrobials such as triclosan and triclocarban must end,” said Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). “In just two years, human exposure to triclosan has dramatically risen and now there is evidence that our food supply could also be contaminated with these chemicals. With no proven benefit and many red flags raised for harmful health impacts, the use of these so-called anti-microbials is an unnecessary and stupid use of toxic chemicals,” quoted Infection Control Today.

The NRDC just filed a lawsuit against the FDA to force it to issue a final rule on the safety and efficacy on both chemicals, said Infection Control Today.

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