A chemical in popular toothpastes and soaps has been linked with brain damage to fetuses.
If you are not yet aware of the potential dangers of triclosan, you should know that this antibacterial agent has been strongly linked to the following effects on human health:
* Abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thyroid hormone signaling
* Weakening of the immune system
* Birth defects
* Uncontrolled cell growth
* Unhealthy weight loss
Scientists fear pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of triclosan, may be putting their babies at risk.
Alarming new findings suggest triclosan may disrupt the flow of blood to the uterus, starving a baby’s brain of the oxygen it needs to develop properly.
Researchers involved in the study called for urgent investigations into the dangers to unborn babies.
Professor Margaret James of the University of Florida said: ‘We know it’s a problem. But we just don’t know how much of a problem.’
Triclosan is a powerful anti-bacterial that was developed nearly 50 years ago.
It is now commonly used in everything from toothpastes, deodorants and handwashes to washing-up liquid, anti-bacterial chopping boards and even some toys.
However, it has been dogged by concerns over its safety and earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. announced it was carrying out a major review on its safety.
In the latest study, tests on sheep showed it interferes with an enzyme that allows the hormone oestrogen to circulate in the womb.
Oestrogen helps to keep open the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood to the foetus.
If there is too little, this artery narrows and oxygen supplies are depleted.
Although triclosan is best known for its presence in many brands of antibacterial soap, it is also found in a wide variety of personal care and household products. According to BeyondPesticides.org, triclosan is found in the following products:
* Dial® Liquid Soap
* Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
* Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap
* Provon® Soap
* Clearasil® Daily Face Wash
* Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes
* Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser
* DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap
* Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap
* CVS Antibacterial Soap
* pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser
* Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash
* Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush
* Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste
* Supre® Café Bronzer™
* TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit
* Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation
* Mavala Lip Base
* Jason Natural Cosmetics
* Blemish Cover Stick
* Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ
* Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb
* Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss
* Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant
* Right Guard Sport Deodorant
* Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant
* Nature De France Le Stick Natural Stick Deodorant
* DeCleor Deodorant Stick
* Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes
* X Air Maximum Strength Deodorant
Other Personal Care Products:
* Gillette® Complete Skin Care MultiGel Aerosol Shave Gel
* Murad Acne Complex® Kit®
* Diabet-x™ Cream
* T.Taio™ sponges and wipes
* Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel
* SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic
* First Aid Medicated Spray;
Nexcare™ First Aid
* Skin Crack Care
* First Aid/Burn Cream
* HealWell® Night Splint
* 11-1X1: Universal Cervical Collar with Microban
* Farberware® Microban Steakknife Set and Cutting Boards
* Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban
* Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer
* Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban
* Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads
* Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad
* Merrell Shoes
* Sabatier Chef's Apron
* Dickies Socks
* Fruit of the Loom Socks
* Biofresh® Socks
* Playskool® :
o Stack 'n Scoop Whale
o Rockin' Radio
o Sounds Around Driver
o Roll 'n' Rattle Ball
o Animal Sounds Phone
o Busy Beads Pal
o Pop 'n' Spin Top
o Lights 'n' Surprise Laptop
* Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier
* Microban® All Weather Reinforced Hose
* Thomasville® Furniture
* Deciguard AB Ear Plugs
* Bauer® 5000 Helmet
* Aquatic Whirlpools
* Miller Paint Interior Paint
* QVC® Collapsible 40-Can Cooler
* Holmes Foot Buddy™ Foot Warmer
* Blue Mountain Wall Coverings
* California Paints®
* EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails
* Dupont™ Air Filters
* Durelle™ Carpet Cushions
* Advanta One Laminate Floors
* San Luis Blankets
* J Cloth® towels
* JERMEX mops
In the UK, the chemical’s use is covered by the EU Cosmetics Directive, which says it is safe to use but only in small doses. The maximum content allowed in any product is 0.3 per cent.
Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has phased out the use of triclosan in its Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpaste and Corsodyl mouthwash. It is still used in brands such as Colgate Total.
Elizabeth Salter-Green, director of the ChemTrust, which lobbies for responsible use of man-made chemicals, urged pregnant women to avoid triclosan.
‘They should absolutely avoid anything with triclosan listed in its ingredients,’ she said.
‘We don’t all need to be using anti-bacterial soaps if we wash our hands properly.
‘It has been on our radar for many years and I’m not surprised at these latest findings.’