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Antibacterial Compound May Contribute to Allergies

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that children with high levels of antibacterial compounds in their urine also have high levels of IgE antibodies in their blood. IgE antibodies are a marker for immune system reactivity that is most often seen as allergy.
When the immune system becomes hypervigilant and churns out lots of IgE, it may mistakenly defend the child against foods, pollen, pet dander and other common substances. The scientists found that triclosan and certain parabens were the only antimicrobial compounds studied that were linked with high IgE. Kids with the most urinary triclosan were twice as likely to have allergies as those with the lowest levels.
So far, the connection is only an association. The scientists plan to do a long-term study on babies exposed to antibacterial products to determine the risk of developing allergies.

[Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online June 18, 2012]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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