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]