Remember triclosan? You know, that anti-bacteria agent we once talked about? Well, according to a new story in the Norwegian Environment and Childhood Asthma Study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and an American study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, triclosan can contribute to an increased risk of allergy development in children.

As we know it, triclosan

  • is used to prevent bacterial growth
  • does not work against all types of bacteria
  • added mostly to cosmetic products such as toothpaste, deodorant and soap
  • also added to kitchen utensils and textiles
  • little triclosan is absorbed through the skin
  • significant absorption through the mucous membranes in the mouth (toothpaste)
  • has been in use for over 40 years in some products
  • from animal experiments we know that triclosan acts to reinforce the development of Immunoglobulin (IgE) towards allergens

In the study, 623 urine samples were collected and measured at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA. Approximately 50 per cent of the Norwegian children had detectable levels of triclosan, while 80 per cent of American children had measurable levels. The children had approximately the same amount of triclosan exposure. The new Norwegian study found similar associations between allergies and triclosan levels measured in children’s urine. The study found that triclosan levels measured in urine were associated with elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and rhinitis (blocked nose/hay fever) in 10 year-olds.

When in contact with triclosan, ones bacteria on the skin, in the mouth, and in the intestines can be compromised. Some of the bacteria destroyed is “good” bacteria which can cause an increased risk of developing allergies (hygiene hypothesis). Therefore, increased use of triclosan and antibacterial products has generally been associated with an increased incidence of allergies.

In a study of triclosan use in Norway in 2001, it was found that 85 per cent of the total amount of triclosan came from cosmetic products, of which 75 per cent were toothpaste. Since this study, triclosan has been removed from a variety of products.

For products to make sure you stay away from, please visit this link.

 (Taken by Nationaal Archief)