Originally published February 3 2011
Chemicals in soap can harm children
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The active ingredient in antibacterial soap may produce allergies in children, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives."
The chemical, known as triclosan, has previously been implicated in immune system dysfunction and in disruption of the hormonal system (endocrine disruption). It can also react with the chlorine in tap water to produce carcinogenic dioxins.
"Triclosan disrupts hormones, can affect sexual function and fertility, and may foster birth defects," warn Frank Lipman and Mollie Doyle in their book "Spent."
"A number of studies have found that washing with regular soap and warm water is just as effective at killing germs."
In the most recent study, researchers compared urine concentrations of triclosan and bisphenol A (BPA) with levels of an immune system marker, cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibodies. They found that triclosan and BPA were both associated with higher CMV antibody levels, suggesting immune dysfunction.
BPA is a ubiquitous endocrine disruptor found in everything from plastic bottles to the linings of food and beverage containers and the paper on which receipts are printed. Although most attention has focused on the chemical's effects on children, the current study found that it had the greatest impact on the immune system of adults aged 18 and older.
Higher triclosan exposure also correlated with a higher risk of allergies and hay fever in participants under the age of 19.
The allergies might be caused directly by the triclosan, or they might develop because people using antibacterial soap are not exposed to enough low-grade pathogens to develop a healthy immune system.
"The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the 'hygiene hypothesis' which maintains that living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to micro-organisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system," said co-author Allison Aiello. "It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good."
Sources for this story include: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-13... ; http://www.naturalpedia.com/triclosan.html.
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