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]