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June 25, 2019

Antibacterial has negative impact on bone health — especially in women

Triclosan increases women's risk of developing osteoporosis, study finds

Women's Health Bones
triclosan osteoporosis women Mike Mozart/Flickr

Triclosan is often used in antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and more.

A first-of-its-kind study published Tuesday has tied triclosan — an antibacterial chemical — to human bone health, especially in women.

According to the study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, women exposed to triclosan are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a common porous bone disease.

Triclosan is a somewhat controversial substance. The study defines it as an “endocrine-disrupting chemical being widely used as an antibacterial in consumer goods and personal care products, including soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, and mouthwash.”

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Triclosan exposure can occur via use in personal care products or contaminated water, researchers said. The FDA already has banned the substance from hand sanitizer and toothpaste products.

“Laboratory studies have demonstrated that triclosan may have potential to adversely affect the bone mineral density in cell lines or in animals. However, little is known about the relationship between triclosan and human bone health,” said the study’s author, Yingjun Li, Ph.D., of Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in China. “As far as we know, this is the first epidemiological study to investigate the association between triclosan exposure with bone mineral density and osteoporosis in a nationally representative sample from U.S. adult women."

In the study, researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving 1,848 women. They were able to draw the parallel between the substance and bone health because the participants with higher levels of triclosan in their urine had a better chance of “bone issues.”

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