Common ingredient promoting inflammation and cancer.
Triclosan, an effective antibacterial and antifungal compound, began appearing in a variety of products in the 1970's.The ingredient became commonly used in soaps, toothpastes, cleaning supplies and pesticides. The FDA launched an investigation on the safety of triclosan but, no clear regulation was established until 2016.
The 2016 FDA regulation effectively banned triclosan and 18 other compounds from consumer antiseptic products such as hand soap. The extremely limited regulation allowed the chemical to remain actively used in hand wipes, sanitizers, toothpastes and more. Over the years however, a growing body of evidence has suggested that triclosan is not only harmful to humans but also the broader environment. The chemical acts as a strong endocrine disrupter in humans and also increases the prominence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It has even been found to be one of the top ten pollutants in the US and results from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found triclosan in 75% of the participant's urine samples.
A new study, led by a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, set out to explore if triclosan was related to gut inflammation. Researchers fed mice amounts of the chemical relative to the concentrations identified in human blood samples. After 3- weeks the healthy mice developed low-grade colonic inflammation.
Researchers followed the same protocol on mice genetically engineered to develop inflammatory bowel disease, finding that the mice who received the triclosan had significantly accelerated IBD symptoms, as did the development of the colitis-associated colon cancer cell. One group of mice even displayed a reduced lifespan.