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Why You Should Stop Using Anything With Triclosan

Why You Should Stop Using Anything With Triclosan
Triclosan, the chemical used in a variety of products, including soaps, mouthwashes, dish detergents, toothpastes, deodorants and hand sanitizers, is coming under scrutiny once again.  We referenced the New York Times article about it last year as a potential danger for children and adults, but in reality, Triclosan has been a concern for decades.  Several studies have shown that triclosan may alter hormone regulation in laboratory animals or cause antibiotic resistance, and some consumer groups and members of Congress want it banned in antiseptic products like hand soap.

And, now we have brand new research (June 18, 2012) from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center that states that “exposure to common antibacterial chemicals and preservatives found in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other personal-care products may make children more prone to a wide range of food and environmental allergies”. The NIH- funded study, published online ahead of print June 18 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, used existing data from a national health survey of 860 children ages 6 to 18.

Johns Hopkins researchers examined the relationship between a child’s urinary levels of antibacterials and preservatives found in many personal-hygiene products and the presence of IgE antibodies in the child’s blood. IgE antibodies are immune chemicals that rise in response to an allergen and are markedly elevated in people with allergies.

The researchers caution that the findings do not demonstrate that antibacterials and preservatives themselves cause the allergies, but instead suggest that these agents play a role in immune system development.”

Growing rates of Food and Environmental Allergies
“The investigators say their findings are also consistent with the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which has recently gained traction as one possible explanation behind the growing rates of food and environmental allergies in the developed world. The hypothesis suggests that early childhood exposure to common pathogens is essential in building healthy immune responses. Lack of such exposure, according to the theory, can lead to an overactive immune system that misfires against harmless substances such as food proteins, pollen or pet dander.

“The link between allergy risk and antimicrobial exposure suggests that these agents may disrupt the delicate balance between beneficial and bad bacteria in the body and lead to immune system dysregulation, which in turn raises the risk of allergies,” Savage added.

Children with the highest urine levels of triclosan had nearly twice the risk of environmental allergies as children with the lowest urinary concentrations. Those with highest levels of propyl paraben (found in personal-hygiene products and some foods and medications) in the urine had twice the risk of an environmental allergy. Food allergy risk was more than twice as pronounced in children with the highest levels of urinary triclosan as in children with the lowest triclosan levels. High paraben levels in the urine were not linked to food allergy risk.

To clarify the link between antimicrobial agents and allergy development, the researchers are planning a long-term study in babies exposed to antibacterial ingredients at birth, following them throughout childhood.”

Where is the FDA on this?

Disappointingly (but, not surprisingly), The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to push off its findings regarding triclosan until winter 2012.  Originally, the FDA was supposed to issue a verdict in spring 2011 but the lines were silent.  They argued that new studies came out that needed to be reviewed.

Last December, 82 environmental and public health organizations petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency—which regulates triclosan in pesticides and home care products, while the FDA oversees its use in personal care and other consumer products—to examine research surrounding triclosan’s adverse health and environmental impacts and issue a ban that would extend to FDA-regulated realms.I wonder if they will truly issue a verdict this winter? Canada declared the antibacterial agent an environmental toxin this spring, and has proposed regulations to curtail its use in Canada. Why is the U.S. always so behind in dealing with regulating consumer products?!

To read more, please go to Johns Hopkins site: