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Study Has Potentially Worrisome News About Antimicrobials And Pregnancy

(credit: thinkstock)

(credit: thinkstock)

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA (CBS) – Uh-oh. It may be time to add two more chemicals to the list of things for pregnant women to avoid.

According to research set to be presented at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), women who are expecting should probably try to steer clear of two chemicals commonly found in antibacterial soaps and cleaners.

The chemicals, triclosan and triclocarban, are commonly found in more than 2,000 products marketed as antimicrobial, including toothpastes, school supplies, soaps, detergents and more.

“We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,” says Benny Pycke, Ph.D, on the American Chemical Society’s website. “We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses. Triclocarban was also in many of the samples.”

That’s troubling, researchers say, because previous studies show the compounds can result in developmental and reproductive problems in animals and possibly in humans. Plus, antibacterial products may also contribute to antibiotic resistance, which has made news recently as a growing problem.

Furthermore, Rolf Halden, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the study, says that there is “universal use of these chemicals, and therefore also universal exposure.”

Minnesota recently passed a ban on triclosan that will take effect in 2017 and several companies are phasing it out of their products. The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency are also reportedly reviewing the use and effects of the compounds.

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