Associations between maternal triclosan concentrations in early pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance, gestational weight gain and fetal markers of metabolic function (Lay summary)

Shapiro GD, Arbuckle TE, Ashley-Martin J, Fraser WD, Fisher M, Bouchard MF, Monnier P, Morisset AS, Ettinger AS, Dodds L. Environmental Research 2018 Feb;161:554-561. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.12.001. 

Triclosan is a chemical sometimes used as a preservative or to kill bacteria in various household products (e.g., body lotions, shampoos, fragrances, deodorants, antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers, mouthwash, and toothpaste).   There have only been a few studies looking at potential health effects of elevated levels of triclosan in pregnant women.

The MIREC Study investigated potential associations between triclosan exposure during early pregnancy and several health outcomes.  Urine samples collected in the first trimester from 1795 pregnant women were analysed for triclosan.  The health outcomes examined were weight gain during pregnancy, risk of gestational diabetes, and hormone markers of fetal metabolic function in umbilical cord blood (adiponectin and leptin).   Both of these hormones play important roles in metabolism: leptin is responsible in regulating appetite and bodyweight, and adiponectin improves insulin resistance.

This study found there was no association between urinary levels of triclosan and increased weight gain in pregnancy, the risk of gestational diabetes or fetal markers of metabolic function.

Further research is needed to see whether other studies will find similar results.