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2012-12-12

Common Synthetic Antimicrobial Linked to Allergies in Children

Happy triple 12s! Apparently this is the last time most of us will experience another "triple" date. Well, not if I can help it. Keep reading this blog, every day, and I'll help you live until January 1st, 2101.  :)

Let's start with eliminating toxic chemicals in our lives. Triclosan is a synthetic broad-spectrum antimicrobial chemical used for more than 20 years to inhibit bacterial growth on skin and other surfaces. It's extremely common, and used It in toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants, soaps, plastic kitchenware. I remember even seeing this used in "kid-friendly" hand sanitizers sold through Toys R Us ("kid friendly" because it was triclosan, not ethanol, that was doing the killing).

However, triclosan is readily, and completely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and has been found in human urine, blood, plasma, and milk. Previous findings from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys showed a link between urinary triclosan concentrations and allergies in children. This new cross-sectional study conducted on Norwegian children with asthma confirms the results of the US study.

The results show that excessive exposure to triclosan appears to sensitize children to inhalant and seasonal allergens and increase their susceptibility to rhinitis. Interestingly, the researchers mention that triclosan was initially considered to have no adverse effects on human health.

"Because humans lack [enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase], triclosan was for many decades considered to be safe for human health," the researchers write. "However, this has recently been questioned, and human exposure to triclosan has been found to be within the range where significant in vitro bioactivity occurs."

Children with highest triclosan urine concentrations--the fourth quartile--had a significantly higher risk for allergic sensitization compared with those in the lower 3 quartiles. An additional analysis revealed that triclosan concentrations were associated with sensitization to inhalant and seasonal allergens (but not to perennial or food allergens).

Despite the recent concerns, manufacturers continue to include triclosan in numerous products.

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Source: Triclosan exposure and allergic sensitization in Norwegian children

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