Triclosan, the controversial endocrine disruptor used as an antibacterial agent in a number of household and personal care items, has been found in 50 percent of newborn babies who were tested in a recent New York study. Triclocarban, another antibacterial chemical found in some soaps was also found in about 25 percent of newborn babies in the study.
According to Environmental Health News, all of the 184 pregnant women tested "had traces of triclosan in their urine, while 86 percent had triclocarban."
The babies were exposed to the antibacterial chemicals linked with a number of health risks while they were still in utero, the researchers noted at a recent conference.
“Our study suggests that expectant mothers may be highly exposed to these compounds, which have endocrine-disrupting capabilities,” said the study coauthor Laura Geer, an environmental health scientist at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in New York.
The researchers noted that exposure to endocrine disruptors like triclosan and triclocarban were linked with lower birth weights and shorter babies than women who had lower levels of the chemicals. While it’s not clear what the impact of shorter lengths has on a child, Geer said “Shifts in birth size may be an indication of endocrine disruption,” which could mean other health concerns in development.
The study’s findings are being presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco, reports Environmental Health News. “They add to growing debate about the safety of antimicrobial chemicals in consumer products.”
Currently, both triclosan and triclocarban are found in more than 2,000 household and personal care items including hand sanitizers, toothpaste, soaps and even toys and clothing.
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