• Soap Ingredient May Be Carcinogenic
  • March 10, 2015 | Author: Stephen J. Burg
  • Law Firm: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. - Englewood Office
  • Triclosan is a chemical ingredient found in many soaps and other hygienic products. It is an antimicrobial agent, which means it kills bacteria. This beneficial property is why it is found in many consumer products. But according to a new study, repeated use can cause significant harm.

    A study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found the chemical causes cancerous tumors and liver fibrosis in laboratory mice. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Lab rats

    Digital Journal noted the researchers exposed mice to triclosan for 6 months, which is about the equivalent of eighteen years for humans. The mice that endured longer exposure had greater rates of cancerous tumors and liver fibrosis, which is a hardening of the tissues. Some of the mice also had fibrosis of the kidneys as well.

    Lead author Dr. Robert H. Tukey noted the chemical causes inflammation, which aids in the promotion of tumor development.

    "Triclosan's increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people," Tukey said.

    He also said these adverse affects may be heightened when mixed with other chemical compounds that react similarly within the body.

    In many common products

    Exposure to triclosan is difficult to avoid, as it is found in most hygienic products as well as clothing, toys, furniture, kitchen appliances and more. According to the FDA, several studies have linked extended exposure of the chemical to hormone alteration. The FDA also stated it is actively engaged in studies to evaluate the risks of the chemical. This move comes in the midst of much growing concern regarding the ingredient.

    Previous studies and larger concerns
    This study comes at the end of a long list of studies that have been conducted over the years. Science Times reported previous studies found the chemical has been linked to a range of issues. Aside from hormone disruption and the findings of this new study, triclosan has been found to increase rates of bacterial resistance, which is a growing concern in much of the world as antibiotics are not having the impact they once did. This is caused by the chemical interfering with the body's detoxifying agents and not allowing them to function properly, according to a press release.

    Additionally, previous research has encouraged pregnant women to avoid using it as it could disrupt fetal development.

    Another surprising concern is how the chemical contaminates the planet through pollution. People toss away these products without regard, but the triclosan can secrete in liquid environments. If the products are thrown into a river or stream, that means disastrous things for the planet's water supply.

    "It has also contaminated virtually all of the waterways in the United States, many in the world," Tukey said. "It's the major contaminant in sediment in most lakes. It's present really everywhere."