New study confirms link between triclosan and allergies

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New study confirms link between triclosan and allergies

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A new study has linked a chemical found in toothpaste to inhalant and seasonal allergies. (Photo courtesy of Tom Freeze/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Thu. 22 November 2012

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OSLO, Norway: A study conducted by researchers from Norway has provided additional evidence for the hypothesis that triclosan can contribute to an increased risk of developing allergies in children. The synthetic antimicrobial agent has been added to many personal care products such as mouthwash and toothpaste to prevent bacterial contamination for more than 30 years now.

As reported by Dental Tribune ONLINE earlier this year, a US study of 860 children established that antibacterial chemicals commonly found in personal hygiene products are associated with a two-fold higher risk of environmental and food allergies in children.

Similar findings have been reported by the Norwegian Environment and Childhood Asthma study. The researchers measured the urinary concentration of triclosan in 623 samples from ten-year-old Norwegian children (53 per cent boys), collected between 2001 and 2004.

About 50 per cent of the children had detectable levels of triclosan, the researchers said. In keeping with other studies, they found that high urinary levels of the chemical in the study’s age group were associated with elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E, an immune chemical that is elevated in the blood of people with allergies and rhinitis, inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the authorities in the country have recommended a reduction in the use of antibacterial products, such as triclosan, for many years because they are thought to change bacterial flora on the skin, in the mouth and intestines, which is associated with an increased risk of developing allergies.

In Norway, 75 per cent of the total amount of triclosan originated from toothpaste in 2001, a study at the time estimated. However, actual exposure to triclosan remains uncertain, the institute stated.

The present study was conducted through collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Health, the Oslo University Hospital and the National Institute of Health Sciences in the US. It was published online on 12 November in Allergy, the official journal of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, ahead of print.

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