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Triclosan Soap Study Sees Allergy Risk

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A recent study says children and teens overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan (such as Dial Complete Antibacterial Handwash) have an increased risk of developing hay fever and other allergies. The study also revealed that exposure to higher levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may weaken adult immune systems, reported HealthDay.

Triclosan is a chemical often contained in antibacterial products and is widely used in consumer products such as soap, toothpaste, kitchenware and toys. BPA, used in many plastics and other consumer goods, is also believed to affect human hormones.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health analyzed data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that children and teenagers with high levels of triclosan were more likely to be diagnosed with hay fever and other allergies.

They compared levels of triclosan and BPA in the urine with cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels and diagnosis of allergies or hay fever in adults and children over age six, reported HealthDay.

The study also showed people 18 years and older with high levels of BPA exposure experienced higher CMV antibody levels, which indicated their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly, said Erin Rees Clayton, the study’s first author.

The study was published in the November 30, 2010 online issue of the Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study supports other expert opinion that overexposure to antibiotics such as triclosan can negatively affect the immune system’s response to antigens. Misuse can spread resistant microbial variants¬ and make the immune system susceptible to infectious microorganisms it can no longer fight off.

“It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good,” confirmed Allison Aiello, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

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