Women exposed to a ‘gender-bending’ chemical found in some anti-bacterial soaps and toothpastes ‘are more likely to break their bones’
- Triclosan is used in products such as toothpaste, mouthwash and cosmetics
- A study found women with higher levels in the urine had weaker bones
- Researchers said triclosan could be a risk for the bone disease osteoporosis
Women exposed to a chemical found in some anti-bacterial soaps are more likely to break their bones, a study suggests.
The gender-bending chemical triclosan could be a risk factor for the bone disease osteoporosis, researchers said.
Triclosan, used in some toothpastes, soaps, mouthwashes, and some cosmetics, has previously been linked to bowel cancer and antibiotic resistance.
It has already been banned in some products in the US, such as over-the-counter hand sanitisers. But no such ban exists in the UK.
Women exposed to a chemical found in some anti-bacterial soaps are more likely to break their bones, a study of women in the US suggests
Chinese scientists analysed data from 1,848 women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Those with higher levels of triclosan in their urine were more likely to have bone issues, it was discovered.
An author of the study, Yingjun Li, from Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in Hangzhou, China, said: ‘Laboratory studies have demonstrated that triclosan may have potential to adversely affect the bone mineral density in cell lines or in animals.
‘However, little is known about the relationship between triclosan and human bone health.
‘As far as we know, this is the first epidemiological study to investigate the association between triclosan exposure with bone mineral density and osteoporosis in a nationally representative sample from US adult women.’
The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Triclosan can also be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys.
It is considered to be an endocrine-disruptor, a group of chemicals often referred to as gender-bending because they are thought to alter the bodies’ hormones by mimicking or blocking them.
Triclosan, a chemical added to personal-care products to prevent bacterial contamination, has been linked to reduced heart health and an underactive thyroid.
When people use a product containing triclosan, they can absorb a small amount through their skin or mouth.
A 2008 study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using a representative sample of more than 2,500 US children and adults, found triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of those tested.
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned triclosan from antiseptic and antibacterial hand rubs and hand washes.
They state that some animal studies have shown that exposure to high doses of triclosan may decrease levels of some thyroid hormones. But the relevance to human health is not known.
Unilever is one manufacturer that has phased out triclosan from its entire range of products in the UK in response to consumer demand, although it says it is confident the chemical is safe.