Most consumers believe that toothpaste and hand sanitizers were always safe to use, but a chemical in those products might actually be pretty harmful.
The Problem With Too Much Triclosan
A new study has revealed that triclosan can cause massive damage to the microbiomes located in the colon. Previously, scientists have known about some potential dangers from this substance.
The findings were published in a study on May 30 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"These results, for the first time, suggest that triclosan could have adverse effects on gut health," said study coauthor Guodong Zhang.
Even a small concentration of triclosan can cause a low-grade colon inflammation, which can result in the development of colitis.
For decades, triclosan was used in popular household products such as hand sanitizers, toys, furniture, toothpaste, and consumer cleaning products. The chemical is good at destroying bacteria.
As a result of the spread of the chemical, it has permeated houses and public water systems. One study found that 75 percent of the population had been in contact with it.
By 2016, the FDA banned it from certain products such as hand sanitizers because it was discovered that it might also be harmful to people.
How Researchers Studied Mice To Learn About Triclosan
To find these results, researchers gave mice water with triclosan in it. They also gave water without triclosan to another group of mice.
After just three weeks of this experiment, the scientists discovered that the mice who drank triclosan had inflammation of the colon. It also worsened colon cancer by increasing the size of the tumors, for those mice that already had it.
"We have very strong data to confirm that gut bacteria is the mechanism to link triclosan exposure to colon inflammation," Zhang told BuzzFeed News.
The researchers believe that the chemical reduced the diversity of the microbiomes in the gut. This, in turn, made the mice more susceptible to these colon diseases.
Future Implications For Triclosan
Although this study seems pretty simple to understand, researchers are still debating if there is an acceptable amount of triclosan that people can take before they are in danger. The researchers strongly suggest that there be more studies about the exposure to triclosan before the FDA takes further action against the chemical with more regulations. It is a very complex chemical to figure out on a large scale.
Meanwhile, consumers should probably stay away from it. If a consumer sees that their product contains triclosan, then it should be disposed of.
Liz West | Flickr