Not only carcinogenic: Triclosan can promote intestinal inflammation
The disinfectant Triclosan has been criticized for a long time because of possible damage to health. The biocide, which is included in cosmetics and toothpaste, is said to be carcinogenic. As researchers have found, the substance can apparently also promote intestinal inflammation.
Antibacterial substance can harm health
The biocide triclosan has been criticized for a long time because of possible damage to health. There are indications that the antibacterial substance, which is contained in cosmetics and toothpaste, among other things, can lead to hormonal disorders and damage the muscles. According to experts, the substance could also trigger breast cancer, damage sperm and attack the liver. A new study has now shown that the substance can also cause inflammation of the intestine - at least in mice.
Negative effects on intestinal health
The study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests that triclosan can cause inflammation of the colon in mice and promote the development of colon cancer in mice.
"For the first time, these results suggest that triclosan could have adverse effects on intestinal health," study leader Guodong Zhang from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said in a message.
Co-authors Haixia Yang and Weicang Wang point out that triclosan is one of the most commonly used antimicrobial agents and can be found in more than 2,000 consumer products.
They also explain that an investigation showed that triclosan was detected in approximately 75 percent of urine samples from people tested in the United States and that the substance is one of the top ten contaminants in US rivers.
"Because this connection is so widespread, our study suggests that further research into the effects of triclosan on bowel health is urgently needed to prepare for possible legal regulations," said postdoc Zhang.
Effects of triclosan on human health
To get their results, the team of scientists fed mice with triclosan in a small amount for three weeks.
The researchers found that the concentrations subsequently found in the blood corresponded to the values measured in many people. In animals, the exposure resulted in mild inflammation of the intestinal mucosa.
In genetically manipulated mice, inflammatory bowel diseases were accelerated and exacerbated by triclosan.
In addition, the increased risk of colorectal cancer in intestinal inflammation increased. The mortality rate of the animals also increased slightly.
The researchers also found that triclosan has a harmful effect on bacteria in the intestine. The substance affected the composition of the intestinal flora.
According to the information, triclosan did not damage the intestinal mucosa in aseptically grown animals (without intestinal bacteria).
Only allow in special medical applications
In an editorial note to the article in the journal "Science Translational Medicine" it says: Although this study is limited to mouse models, "this work suggests that the effects of triclosan on human health should be examined more closely".
In Germany, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) had already demanded in 2006 that antibacterial agents such as triclosan should be reserved for disinfection in hospitals and medical practices.
And last year, 206 health experts from 29 countries published a call in which they also demand that the "problem biocide" triclosan should only be approved worldwide in special medical applications.
The call from scientists, doctors and other medical professionals was published in the scientific journal "Environmental Health Perspectives". (ad)