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Using antibacterial soaps with triclosan excessively can cause immune system problems in those under 18

Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered that an overexposure to triclosan in young people and an overexposure to Bisphenol A in adults can have negative health effects on the human body. 

Allison Aiello, study leader and associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health, along with Erin Rees Clayton, co-author of the study at the U-M School of Public Health, have found that triclosan, which is found in antibacterial soaps, may cause allergies in young people while Bisphenol A, which is found in most plastics, can harm the adult immune system. 

Previous research associated with triclosan and Bisphenol A has been conducted on animal models, but this is the first study to show how both toxicants influence human function. 

Triclosan and Bisphenol A belong in a class of environmental toxicants called endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) and can imitate or affect hormones causing negative health risks in humans. Bisphenol A can be found in plastics and protective linings in food cans, and triclosan can be found in antibacterial soaps, medical devices, toothpastes, pens and diaper bags. 

The U-M researchers came to the conclusion that both triclosan and Bisphenol A can negatively affect the human body by utilizing data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Aiello and Rees Clayton compared cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels and diagnosis of allergies/hay fever with urinary Bisphenol A and triclosan in a sample that consisted of U.S. adults and children over the age of six. 

The results showed that people over the age of 18 with higher levels of Bisphenol A had increased CMV antibody levels. Rees Clayton said that this indicates that the person's "cell-mediated immune system" may not be working correctly. 

In addition, Aiello and Rees Clayton found that those under the age of 18 with high levels of triclosan had an increased risk of developing allergies or hay fever. 

"The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the 'hygiene hypothesis,' which maintains living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to micro-organisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system," said Aiello.

Aiello also noted that people can be too clean. Using an excessive amount of antibacterial soaps with triclosan during childhood can change the way our immune systems develop by altering the micro-organisms we're normally exposed to. 

Another finding showed that Bisphenol A exposure depends on age. Those over 18 who had higher Bisphenol A levels also had high CMV levels, but for those under 18, the opposite occurred. Researchers believe this means that the timing, quantity and length of exposure determines how the immune system is influenced by Bisphenol A. 

The only issue with this study is that it measured exposure and disease at the same time, which shows only part of the overall picture. 

"It is possible, for example, that individuals who have an allergy are more hygienic because of their condition, and that the relationship we observed is, therefore, not casual or is an example of reverse causation," said Aiello. 

The U-M researchers hope to use this study to continue learning the long-term effects of triclosan and Bisphenol A in humans to see if they can develop a "causal relationship." 

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Just what I've been saying
By Spivonious on 11/29/2010 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 5
All of this anti-bacterial and ultra-cleanliness of the past decade or so has led to an increase in allergy sufferers.

The human body does not start out being able to fight off disease; it builds up a tolerance over time from repeated exposures.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Smartless on 11/29/2010 3:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
Lol we better not go invading any planet then cause we'd be on the opposite side of War of the Worlds.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By HrilL on 11/29/2010 5:29:34 PM , Rating: 5
We could also bring things that kill the life on the other worlds.

Like when the Spanish invaded the Americas. Small pox killed off far more natives then war did.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By KayDat on 11/29/2010 9:17:40 PM , Rating: 5
TBH, I'm more worried about bacteria developing antibiotic resistance due to excessive and undue use of antibacterial products.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By niva on 11/29/2010 10:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Bacteria has already adapted to this, new strains of biofilm forming bacteria are wreaking all sorts of havoc in the health industry. This is largely an evolutionary response to some of these products we use.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By mino on 12/3/2010 5:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, an we are continuing the trend ...

That for instance cleaning agent - in the cause of "environment" we are phasing out old-school chlorinated cleaning agent, that operated on a purely chemical basis, if favor of "anti-bacterial" agenta that are pretty much just simple antibiotics ...

No matter that one would have chlorinate a whole building to damage the environment even close to how one meter of winter-salted road does ...

RE: Just what I've been saying
By amanojaku on 11/29/2010 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 4
Pig-Pen was on to something...

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Hlafordlaes on 11/29/2010 3:34:32 PM , Rating: 3
Indeed! Don't want to gross you fellows out, but due to severe economic strain at one point I was showering once a week. Both the athlete's foot and jock itch I had never been able to eliminate (for 20+ years!!) with daily shower scrubs, powders and creams were immediately conquered by natural skin oils. Gone! Soaps in general have too high a pH.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Ammohunt on 11/29/2010 5:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well...we can't all be dirty hippies! I will stick to regular showers thanks!

RE: Just what I've been saying
By goku on 11/29/2010 8:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
Actually those anti fungal creams work quite well to curing jock itch and the alike. Problem is, people get sweaty down there and unless they can apply the cream at least twice a day and keep that area DRY, it won't work at all. ask me how I know.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By geddarkstorm on 11/30/2010 12:47:12 AM , Rating: 2
How do you know?

Oh, wait, that was rhetorical wasn't it?

RE: Just what I've been saying
By mindless1 on 12/3/2010 8:52:00 PM , Rating: 2
Oil does not kill fungus, and soap pH is not relevant once it has rinsed away. Well, actually, a high pH would actually kill the fungus as it likes slightly acidic pH levels.

It is more likely you had two simultaneous conditions, both sweating too much in these areas without garments that did a far job of wicking away sweat, AND your body pH was probably off from the wrong diet... so I conclude that your change in lifestyle resulted in either less sweating, more breathable clothes, or a change in type or quantity of food and beverage.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By PCR on 11/29/2010 3:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
The human body does not start out being able to fight off disease

Yes it does! What you are referring to as tolerance is not really tolerance. It is acquired immunity, when the immune system is exposed to a pathogen it responds by generating plasma B cells (various steps are involved). These B cells have long lives, depending on the pathogen. Recurring exposure causes these B-cells to produces anti-bodies relatively quickly. This gives us immunity, not tolerance.

An infants immune system is not quite yet fully developed at birth and takes about a year or two but that does not mean we are not born with the ability to fight off disease.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Schrag4 on 11/29/2010 4:17:05 PM , Rating: 5
An infants immune system is not quite yet fully developed at birth and takes about a year or two but that does not mean we are not born with the ability to fight off disease.

Hence the breast milk, laden with the mother's anti-bodies.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By tastyratz on 11/29/2010 3:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. If I drop it on the floor as long as nothing hairy or crunchy sticks its still edible. This bubble boy sanitization crap is just that... crap. We are as a race going to very likely over time evolve with weaker immune systems as a result of this. I hope my children intend to swim in polluted lakes, eat dirt, and share food to build an iron immune system. Funny I am never sick and never have issues even with all those extra tasty germs

RE: Just what I've been saying
By ClownPuncher on 11/29/2010 3:33:15 PM , Rating: 5
Yep. I ride a bus to work and get sick maybe once every 2 years. I refuse to lick a public toilet seat, though.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By PitViper007 on 11/30/2010 4:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well how else are you going to get your daily dose of....oh wait. Never mind.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Dr of crap on 11/29/2010 3:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
And yet they still make these bug killing soaps,
and sometimes it's all you can find.

Everything in moderation.

We need bacteria, so stop killing all of them.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Skywalker123 on 11/30/2010 1:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
Don't worry, bacteria will be around long after humans are dead and forgotten

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Gio6518 on 11/29/2010 4:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
All of this anti-bacterial and ultra-cleanliness of the past decade or so has led to an increase in allergy sufferers.

Don't forget about germ mutation, the more we fight off these germs the more the mutate, into a more resilient super virus, take a look at MRSA.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By PCR on 11/29/2010 4:31:40 PM , Rating: 3
Don't forget about germ mutation, the more we fight off these germs the more the mutate, into a more resilient super virus, take a look at MRSA.

Viruses do not develop resistance due to to the presence of antibiotics, only bacteria do. MRSA is Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria) which is resistant to methicillin. It is not a virus.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Gio6518 on 11/29/2010 5:27:30 PM , Rating: 5
Since viruses contain both RNA and DNA they are completely able to mutate.
Bacterial antibiotic resistance or viral antiviral drug resistance are often cited to prove the alleged creative power of evolution through mutation and selection. While antibiotic resistance and antiviral drug resistance are very real phenomena, they have no real bearing on the actual ability of evolutionary processes to create new genetic information, and do not give real clues as to the origin of species in the first place. Antibiotic resistance and antiviral drug resistance are excellent examples of microevolution, or minor change within population, and involve the origination of zero to miniscule amounts of information in the genome.

Vaccinations against viruses: Vaccines can be successful against viruses. There are successful vaccines against many viruses including smallpox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, and others. The body's immune system kills viruses by actually killing the whole cell that is virus infected. Virus vaccines teach the body's immune system how to recognize specific virus-infected cells. Unfortunately, some viruses are difficult to create vaccines against, because they mutate, and the body cannot easily recognize the newly mutated form. Vaccination against the flu is only partially helpful because there are so many strains of the flu. Flu viruses mutate very often, which explains why a new flu vaccine is needed each year. The HIV virus is also particularly good at mutating itself, and has defied attempts to create a HIV vaccine as yet. Similarly, vaccines against the most common viruses, such as the common cold, remain elusive.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By PCR on 11/29/2010 6:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct. I was only referring to antibiotics. The presence or absence of antibiotics has no bearing on the mutation of viruses. Antibiotics only affect bacteria, that's the point I was trying to make. Since Triclosan is not an antiviral it does not select for antiviral resistant viruses.

Since viruses contain both RNA and DNA they are completely able to mutate.

Not all viruses contain both RNA and DNA, some are RNA only viruses and others are DNA viruses.

The body's immune system kills viruses by actually killing the whole cell that is virus infected.

That is misleading and somewhat simplistic, yes the immune system does do that through an interferon mediated response, however viruses are also inactivated by antibodies without actually killing the infected cell.

RNA viruses mutate more readily compared to DNA viruses, thus creating the problem of an affective vaccine, e.g. HIV, Flu, however antibiotics do not cause their mutation! This has more to do with the nature of RNA polymerase (viral replication) and the lability of RNA itself.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Gio6518 on 11/29/2010 7:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
Very true.
I was just using simplistic terms and examples, like my reference to MRSA. Wasn't expecting someone to take it so literally. All living things go through some kind of natural selection, if they didn't they wouldn't exist.

however antibiotics do not cause their mutation!

It would be more of an antiviral agent than an antibiotic, even though not always the case. I was just trying to keep it simple.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Jyrioffinland on 11/30/2010 5:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
I was wondering how long it takes before we get to 'discuss' ID... ;)

While antibiotic resistance and antiviral drug resistance are very real phenomena, they have no real bearing on the actual ability of evolutionary processes to create new genetic information [...] Antibiotic resistance and antiviral drug resistance are excellent examples of microevolution...

I can't think how you could contradict yourself any more. LOL

Evolution = Cumulative sum of 'micro evolution' (sic) over a very long period of time.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By foolsgambit11 on 11/30/2010 4:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
I feel like more and more gets lumped under 'microevolution' as we find evidence of evolution occurring. It's like artificial intelligence research - it's a moving target. It used to be, if we could create a machine that could beat the best chess players in the world, that would be AI. Once that was done, we discovered that wasn't actually AI. We could probably create a machine that would pass the Turing Test now, but we already know it wouldn't really be AI, just clever programming.

The same thing happens with evolution. It used to be, if we saw an actual new species develop, that was evolution. But once we saw it, wait, no, that wasn't evolution, that was still just microevolution. At least now, we're probably close to the point where we can see that those who still aren't convinced won't be convinced by any evidence collectible within their lifetimes. Unless we develop time-travel technology.

If we want to debate the original origins of life, science only has a 'best guess' right now, without any real evidence save feasibility going for it (and the circumstantial evidence of the fossil record beginning with very simple organisms). But when it comes to the origin of the species that exist today, evolution is certainly the most logical, most coherent, most explanatory, and best documented explanation available to us.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By sprockkets on 11/29/2010 9:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Technically viruses and bacteria do not mutate in response to anti-biotics. It just happens, and the resulting mutation is favored.

In fact, the mutated forms are weaker than the antibiotic resistant forms. This is been shown time and time again, especially in malaria.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By VahnTitrio on 11/29/2010 4:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
When I think of my friends and family who seem to get sick the most, they also seem to be the ones who are trying hardest not to get sick. The line between the sick and the healthy seems to be about the same as the "what to do when food hits the floor" line is. The "it's still good" crowd for the most part are my healthier friends, and the "that's gross" crowd tend to be the sicklier.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By Netscorer on 11/29/2010 4:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
You can never be sure if this is not another case of chicken and egg scenario. Do your sick relatives pay more attention to their hygiene because they try to stay off the disease or do they get sick more often because they do not allow their bodies to develop natural defenses.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By FaceMaster on 12/1/2010 8:28:20 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the same thing could be applied to Jackass, who are always trying to hurt themselves and never fully succeed. However, an average person could be paralysed for life from one simple slip on uneven pavement.

RE: Just what I've been saying
By MozeeToby on 11/29/2010 4:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's all a bit misleading if you ask me. Bear in mind, soap, even a 60 year old bar of Dial, will kill more than 99% of germs. It's pretty unlikely that getting rid of that last .9% is going to make much of a difference when it comes to training the immune system. Especially when you consider that about 20 seconds after washing you've already got all kinds of germs on your hands again.

What the research is really about is the effects of chemicals on the immune system. Chemicals like the Triclosan that has been added to soaps to make them 'antibacterial' (as opposed to regular soap which kills bacteria just fine).

RE: Just what I've been saying
By genedude on 11/29/2010 4:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
The study provides more support of the hygiene hypothesis that covers autoimmune diseases including allergies. The clean freaks should realize that they have more microbes in their gut than cells in their own bodies, and that 99.999% of them are helpful!

RE: Just what I've been saying
By MCKENZIE1130 on 11/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just what I've been saying
By YashBudini on 11/30/2010 1:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
I got a mouse for you right here.

Get Killed
By Ammohunt on 11/29/2010 6:04:55 PM , Rating: 4
One needs to use caution when advocating a "non-clean" lifestyle there are a myriad of organisms in the everyday environment that can kill you. deaths preventable by simply doing things like washing your hands and cooking your food. Viral meningitis come to mind...

This headline is bull
By Methusela on 11/29/2010 7:29:18 PM , Rating: 1
The study has nothing to do with cleanliness. It only has to do with triclosan, an antibacterial chemical, and Bisephenol A (BPA), a chemical component of plastics, resins, and epoxies. Neither chemical has anything to do with cleanliness or hygiene, as is implied by the misleading titles. Triclosan is antibacterial, but naturally so are almost all of the household products it's in.

RE: This headline is bull
By bennyg on 11/29/2010 9:34:10 PM , Rating: 3
awww that's being ridiculously reductionist.

A component found in widely available "anti-bacterial" products can be safely assumed to be used by people specifically concerned with "bacteria" and therefore cleanliness. And the OCD nature that a lot of these (bored housewives dare I say) people engage in consuming germ-killing products I think it's entirely relevent.

Anyway this is an article, not a scientific study itself.

Like my grandma always says...
By raumkrieger on 11/29/2010 5:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
You'll eat a pound of dirt before you die.

I'm pretty proud of my immune system. Even with my unhealthy lifestyle I rarely get sick and when I do I get over it in a few days, much quicker than most people I know.

Store receipts
By vailr on 11/29/2010 9:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
There've been radio reports that most point-of-sale printed store receipts have bisphenol-A in the ink, which when handled, can easily transfer through the skin and into the bloodstream. And that safer inks could be easily substituted, but aren't.

anti-bacterial stupidity
By Shadowmaster625 on 11/30/2010 9:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
I use nothing but the purest petrochemical byproducts.

Not good
By YashBudini on 11/30/2010 1:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
Oh great, now the people who use bathrooms without washing up will believe they are doing the right thing. And the Walmart customers? Well they never cared in any case.

By IntelUser2000 on 11/30/2010 8:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
IMO the problem isn't due to being "too clean", but the exposure to chemicals that are not fully proven to be safe to the human body and the inconsistencies in hygiene between many people.

-People who shower twice a day, but don't wash their hands before eating. It doesn't help you that you shower, because hands have the greatest chance of being licked for example. There are far more harmful bacteria that's on the surface than the ones in the air.

-Those who stop taking medicines long before doctor prescribed schedule ends. Which increases the chance those bacteria gather strength again and become immune, making it far worse when the disease returns.

-Widespread use of spray-based freshners, excessive use of perfumes and colognes, make-up, anything that might cause allergic reaction or unknown side-effects.

-Taking medicines that don't target the source of the problem, but merely reduce the pain. Pain is a way of the body smacking you in the head telling you "Hey, how about you take better care of your body?"

Lot of the medications do that. It's like taking painkillers after getting shot and not treating the wound, you're still gonna bleed to death, but at least you won't feel the pain.

By Ziggizag on 11/30/2010 10:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
It is pretty scary to see how much this poor "statistical science" is affecting public opinion with results showing what they used to call "correlations" in case of very weak effects with ultra-low doses of substances suspected of affecting human health. These "correlations" actually show some health problems observed within very big populations on the period of lifetime with a naive guess that a single substance the researcher has actually measured once or twice is the sole reason of all the problems.

First - the correlation shown between estimated BPA exposure in childhood and health problems in older age are all weak. Second - as I have just explained - these correlations are meaningless as it is pretty easy to presume that the people who are exposed to BPPA were through their lifetime similary exposed to myriads of other compounds as well as these few people who were detected BPA-free could be equally all-the-other-common-pollutants-free simply because of living in some overall clean area.

Simply speaking - it is really pretty obvious:

if an environment-pollution-oriented scientist is focused on immuninity-system issues he/she will for sure find BPA in charge of immune system issues. Similary, if he/she is focused on endocrinology - he/she will undoubtedly find some hormones disrupted. As well as an oncology focused researcher will for sure find correlations with various tumors...

In case of very large populations - such weak correlations will with good chance be found for whatever environmental factor and whatever health issue studied - it is only the matter to get the grant money for yet another wide screening...

I call it all "junk science" and this junk science is in charge of popular scaremongering. Reading newspapers will show this way that at least twenty possible causes of obesity were diagnosed! In case of Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder - this sort of statistical science have already produced "evidence" for more than sixty "suspects"!!! Everything like common pesticides, virus infections, GMO cultures, mobile phone networks and climate change were proven "correlated" with CCD occurences! In case of Colony Collapse Disorder statistical science has simply shown that its cause can be just ANYTHING!!! What a great scientyfic result - isn't it?

Frankly speaking - "science" based on some very week and indirect correlations statistically found within large populations is worth close to nothing. DO NOT EVEN READ THIS JUNK !!!

By topperj1 on 12/1/2010 11:56:38 AM , Rating: 2
That pesky Law of Unintended Consequences rears its ugly head again. For every action, there is an equal, and opposite, reaction. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature!

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