Daily News Archive
Agent Found to Be an Endocrine Disruptor at Low Levels
The study, entitled “The Bactericidal Agent Triclosan Modulates Thyroid Hormone-Associated Gene Expression and Disrupts Postembryonic Anuran Development,” shows that exposure to as little as 0.15 micrograms/L triclosan causes an earlier metamorphosis from tadpole to frog than normal, with effects on the tadpole brain and tail.
Results of the study
indicate that low levels of triclosan can potentially affect the human
thyroid gland. The thyroid plays a role in development, body temperature
"For most things, regular soap is just fine. In terms of children's products, they shouldn't have triclosan in them at all,” Dr. Helbing said in an interview with the Victoria Sun.
"When you ask a qualified microbiologist, they'll tell you that it's being overdone and there's probably a greater chance of creating bacterial resistance than preventing problems," said Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society. "Washing with soap and water is enough, except in a hospital environment ... You don't want to use a jackhammer to kill an ant when stepping on it will do.
"The reason why the triclosan story is interesting is it's so pervasive - it's in so many products. Even (though) the risk (of ill effects) is small, the exposure is too large," says Dr. Schwarcz.
In March, the Canadian
Paediatric Society called for parents to stop buying antibacterial products,
and instead use traditional soap and water to wash toys, hands or household
items. This past August,
an Illinois County asked EPA to cut the widespread use of antibacterial
agents. The American Medical Association and Association for Professionals
in Infection Control have said there's no evidence that antibacterial
soaps prevent infections in homes. Additionally, on October
20, 2005, at a meeting of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee,
which advises FDA, the committee voted 11-1 that antibacterial soaps
and washes were no more effective than regular soap and water in fighting
infections — both work equally as well. Shortly after, Beyond
Pesticides, along with 14 other public health and environmental advocacy
FDA to ban triclosan for all non-medical uses. As of yet, the agency
has failed to respond to the petition.