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Antibacterial Compound Targets Muscle in Mice and Minnows

The antibacterial compound triclosan may carry unsuspected risks. Triclosan is found in most over-the-counter antibacterial soaps, many toothpastes and mouthwashes. It is also found in some deodorants, toys and trash bags. In the past, concerns have been raised that triclosan may have endocrine disrupting properties.
Now, researchers report that this antibacterial chemical can disrupt muscle cells in mice and fish at levels comparable to human exposures. In the mice, heart rate dropped about 25 percent after exposure, while minnows exposed to triclosan in their water were less efficient swimmers. The researchers conclude, “We have shown that triclosan potently impairs muscle functions by interfering with signaling between two proteins that are of fundamental importance to life.” They suggest that regulatory agencies may want to reconsider the safety of this nearly ubiquitous compound.
[PNAS, online Aug. 13, 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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