Antibacterial Chemical Disrupts Hormone Activities, Study Finds

Published: August 29, 2012
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A new UC Davis study shows that a common antibacterial chemical added to bath soaps can alter hormonal activity in rats and in human cells in the laboratory.

From ScienceDaily (Dec. 8, 2007) — A new UC Davis study shows that a common antibacterial chemical added to bath soaps can alter hormonal activity in rats and in human cells in the laboratory.

The findings come as an increasing number of studies -- of both lab animals and humans -- are revealing that some synthetic chemicals in household products can cause health problems by interfering with normal hormone action. Called endocrine disruptors, or endocrine disrupting substances (EDS), such chemicals have been linked in animal studies to a variety of problems, including cancer, reproductive failure and developmental anomalies. This is the first endocrine study to investigate the hormone effects of the antibacterial compound triclocarban (also known as TCC or 3,4,4-trichlorocarbanilide), which is widely used in household and personal care products including bar soaps, body washes, cleansing lotions, wipes and detergents. Triclocarban-containing products have been marketed broadly in the United States and Europe for more than 45 years; an estimated 1 million pounds of triclocarban are imported annually for the U.S. market.

When male rats were fed triclocarban, testosterone-dependent organs such as the prostate gland grew abnormally large.

Also, the authors said their discovery that triclocarban increased hormone effects was new. All previous studies of endocrine disruptors had found that they generally act by blocking or decreasing hormone effects.

"This finding may eventually lead to an explanation for some rises in some previously described reproductive problems that have been difficult to understand," said one author, Bill Lasley, a UC Davis expert on reproductive toxicology and professor emeritus of veterinary medicine. More analyses of antibacterials and endocrine effects are planned, he said.

Consumers should not take this study as guidance on whether to use triclocarban-containing products, Lasley said. "Our mothers taught us to wash our hands well before the advent of antimicrobial soaps, and that practice alone prevents the spread of disease."

University of California - Davis (2007, December 8). Antibacterial Chemical Disrupts Hormone Activities, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 11, 2007, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2007/12/071207150713.htm.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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