Prenatal triclosan exposure and cord blood immune system biomarkers (Lay summary)

Ashley-Martin J, Dodds L, Arbuckle TE, Marshall JS. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2016 Jul;219(4-5):454-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.04.010.

Triclosan is a chemical used in cosmetics, antibacterial soaps, and other household cleaning products to prevent growth of bacteria and fungus. Previous studies have suggested that triclosan is associated with respiratory problems, including asthma and various allergies. Three immune specific biomarkers (measurable substances in an organism) were studied for changes in concentrations related to prenatal triclosan exposure. These biomarkers were measured in umbilical cord blood samples stored in the MIREC Biobank from a subset of participants with full term births between 2008 and 2011. Triclosan was measured in the urine samples of 1219 MIREC participants, taken during their first trimester of pregnancy.

All of the participants (99.4%) had detectable triclosan levels in their urine samples, but these levels were not related to levels of the three immune specific biomarkers measured in umbilical cord blood.

Nonetheless, further studies should be done to investigate if fetal exposure to triclosan may be associated with immune system effects later in childhood.