Date Published: 7 October 2006
Common household chemical may pose human health risk - Canada
An antibacterial agent used in common household items such as soaps, toothpaste, processed food, and clothing represents a potential health risk to human hormone action, says a new study co-authored by a University of Victoria researcher.
The study, published online this week in Aquatic Toxicology, examined the effects of the antibacterial agent known as triclosan on the development, or metamorphosis, of tadpoles into frogs. The study showed that when tadpoles are exposed to levels of triclosan commonly found in the environment, frog metamorphosis that relies on thyroid hormones was significantly disrupted.
Triclosan is of particular concern to toxicologists because it is structurally similar to thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in early human development.
Triclosan is used in a wide variety of products, including clothing, food, personal care products, and some plastics to make them more bacteria-resistant. It is present in municipal effluents, is persistent in the environment, and accumulates up the food chain.
The study found that as little as one-millionth of a gram per litre of triclosan interferes with thyroid hormones and their ability to direct the genes responsible for frog metamorphosis. This is the same concentration of triclosan found in 85 waterways tested across the U.S. in another, recent study.
Triclosan has also been detected in human breast milk, notes Helbing.
Helbing hopes this study will spur further research into how low doses of triclosan might be affecting human and wildlife health.
To see a copy of the paper visit www.sciencedirect.com and click on ?Articles in Press.?
Source: University of Victoria (Canada).