Prenatal Urinary Triclosan Concentrations and Child Neurobehavior (Abstract)

Etzel T, Muckle G, Arbuckle TE, Fraser WD, Ouellet E, Séguin JR, Lanphear BP, Braun JM. Environment International 2018 May;114:152-159. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.02.032.


Exposure to triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical, is ubiquitous among pregnant women and may reduce thyroid hormone levels that are important for fetal neurodevelopment. Few studies have examined the association between prenatal triclosan exposure and children’s neurobehavior.


We investigated the relationship of prenatal urinary triclosan concentrations with children’s behavior and cognitive abilities at age three years in a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort in Canada.


We measured triclosan in urine samples collected at ~12 weeks of gestation in 794 Canadian women enrolled in a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort study (MIREC) from 2008 to 2011. Around age 3 years, we assessed children’s cognitive abilities using the Wechsler Primary and Preschool Scale of Intelligence-III (WPPSI-III), and two scales of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool (BRIEF-P). Parents reported children’s problem and reciprocal social behaviors using the Behavior Assessment System for Children-2 (BASC-2) and Social Responsiveness Scale-2 (SRS-2), respectively.


After adjusting for confounders using multivariable linear regression, triclosan was not associated with most of the 30 examined neurobehavioral scales. Each 10-fold increase in triclosan was associated with better WPPSI-III picture completion scores (β: 0.2; 95% CI: 0,0.5) and BASC-2 externalizing (β: −0.5; 95% CI: −1.1, 0) and hyperactivity (β: −0.6; 95% CI: −1.2, −0.1) scores, suggesting less externalizing and hyperactive behaviors. Child sex did not modify these associations.


In this cohort, urinary triclosan concentrations measured once in early pregnancy were not associated with most assessed aspects of neurobehavior and weakly associated with a few others, but not in the hypothesized direction.