The long-term effects of antibacterial soaps. Part of the hygiene hypothesis, this indicates that we are not preparing our children’s immune systems for their environments! -
Using data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, U-M researchers compared urinary BPA and triclosan with cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels and diagnosis of allergies or hay fever in a sample of U.S. adults and children over age 6. Allergy and hay fever diagnosis and CMV antibodies were used as two separate markers of immune alterations.“We found that people over age 18 with higher levels of BPA exposure had higher CMV antibody levels, which suggests their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly,” said Erin Rees Clayton, research investigator at the U-M School of Public Health and first author on the paper. Researchers also found that people age 18 and under with higher levels of triclosan were more likely to report diagnosis of allergies and hay fever.There is growing concern among the scientific community and consumer groups that these EDCs are dangerous to humans at lower levels than previously thought. “The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ which maintains living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to micro-organisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system,” said Allison Aiello, associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health and principal investigator on the study.As an antimicrobial agent found in many household products, triclosan may play a role in changing the micro-organisms to which we are exposed in such a way that our immune system development in childhood is affected. “It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good,” said Aiello, who is also a visiting associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard.
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