Using Antibacterial Soap May Disrupt Your Hormones

Up to now, triclosan received much of its deserved notoriety as an ingredient found in many toothpastes and soaps that creates antibiotic-resistant germs. That is, until a new study that identified triclosan as a synthetic endocrine disruptor.

Due to its presence at detectable levels in U.S. streams, scientists studied the effect of triclosan on young bullfrog tadpoles that hadn't matured long enough to produce thyroid hormones that are structurally very similar to the antibacterial, antifungal agent.

Exposing tadpoles to triclosan alone wasn't the issue. The combination of triclosan and thyroid hormones, however, made the latter far more potent, creating a slew of problems, including reduced gene activity, significant weight loss, uncontrolled cellular growth and accelerated hind-limb development.

Even worse, it doesn't take much triclosan (0.15 parts per billion) to disrupt a hormone signaling system in frogs -- one that mirrors humans. That's why you should use plain soap and water to keep your hands clean and stay away from antibacterial soaps.

Environmental Science and Technology October 24, 2006

Aquatic Toxicology September 29, 2006

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