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Triclosan in Human Urine Has Increased: Are There Implications for Our Health?
by admin on: March 11th, 2011

Triclosan is an active ingredient that is added to many consumer products such as antibacterial soaps, body washes, and toothpastes. (Triclosan is also known by the chemical name 5-chlor-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol.) The purpose for adding this chemical is to prevent or reduce bacterial contamination, by killing bacteria and fungi. In addition to cleaning agents, Triclosan may also be found in treated kitchenware, furniture, toys, and clothing. To date, Triclosan is not thought to be hazardous to humans; however, studies exposing animals to this chemical indicate it can alter hormone levels; for example, Triclosan has been shown to reduce the level of thyroid hormones in male rats.

Recent data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the level of Triclosan in the urine of humans (an indication that the drug has been exposed to, and absorbed by, the body and then metabolized) has increased over the past few years. While this increase in the levels of Triclosan in the body has not reached what is considered to be a ???dangerous??? level, there is still cause for concern. In fact, Sarah Janssen of the U.S. Natural Resources Defense council notes that drugs or chemicals that have previously been shown to alter thyroid hormones have also been shown to result in behavioral changes in people, should the exposure to these chemicals occur early in a human???s life.

The justification for the addition of Triclosan to products is evidence that this chemical produces a quantifiable benefit. As early as 1997, Triclosan proved to be effective in preventing gingivitis in Colgate Total toothpaste. However, putting toothpaste aside for a moment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently stated that there is no evidence that Triclosan present in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit. The FDA is currently evaluating the safety of Triclosan, and should release their results to the public in spring of 2011.

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