New Study: Pregnant Women Should Avoid Antimicrobial Products


A new study presented at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society reveals serious concerns about the safety of antibacterial and antimicrobial products for pregnant women. The study shows that mothers and fetuses could “face potential health risks” from two commonly used agents found in everything from toothpaste to toys.

‘We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,’ says Benny Pycke, Ph.D. ‘We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses. Triclocarban was also in many of the samples.’

The problem with this, explains Pycke, a research scientist at Arizona State University (ASU), is that there is a growing body of evidence showing that the compounds can lead to developmental and reproductive problems in animals and potentially in humans. Also, some research suggests that the additives could contribute to antibiotic resistance, a growing public health problem.

Read more on the American Chemical Society’s Website.

Rolf Halden, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, says that since use of the products is so widespread the chemicals are harder to avoid than we might expect. “…the truth is that we have universal use of these chemicals, and therefore also universal exposure.”

More than 2,000 products marketed as antimicrobial contain triclosan and triclocarban, which has been associated with a host of other health concerns over the years. Treated items include a surprising assortment of apparel, toys, body care products and kitchenware, among others.

Reducing the use of these products can help minimize direct risk to the pregnant woman and her unborn child while limiting the overall pollution of our water supplies and ecosystems with these agents. A helpful list of products to avoid can be found on the website of Dr. Ben Kim.

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