This Common Antibacterial May Harm Your Liver

   |  Updated: November 19, 2014 13:05 IST

This Common Antibacterial May Harm Your Liver
Triclosan, a widely used antibacterial found in soaps, shampoos and toothpastes has now been found to be detrimental to human health. According to a recent study published in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, long-term exposure to triclosan may cause cancer as well as liver fibrosis.

"Triclosan's increasing detection in environmental samples and its broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice," said Robert Hammock Tukey, professor at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Researchers at University of California's San Diego School of Medicine, carried out experiments on mice models to understand the long-term effects of triclosan on health. The team found that when mice were exposed to triclosan for six months (roughly equivalent to 18 human years), they were more susceptible to chemical-induced liver tumours. Also, the tumours in these mice were much bigger and more frequent as compared to those who weren't exposed to triclosan.

As a result, the study concluded that triclosan has properties that can disrupt liver's integrity and can obstruct proper functioning of androstane receptor - a protein responsible for detoxifying foreign chemicals in the body. In such a situation the body reacts by multiplying liver cells, which turn fibrotic over time.

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Robert suggests, "We can reduce most human and environmental exposures by eliminating uses of triclosan that are high volume, but of low benefit, such as inclusion in liquid hand soaps. Yet we could also for now retain uses shown to have health value - as in toothpaste, where the amount used is small,"
Some of the most recent studies have found traces of triclosan in 97 per cent of breast milk samples from lactating women and in the urine of nearly 75 per cent of people tested. Triclosan is also common in the environment: It is one of the seven most frequently detected compounds in streams across the US. In the wake of such events, experts suggest lesser dependence on triclosan in our everyday lives.

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