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Don’t panic! CTPA speaks out over study linking triclosan with allergies

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 22-Nov-2012

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association has urged consumers not to be concerned about using toothpaste and anti-bacterial skin care products containing triclosan, despite a recent study claiming to link the presence of the ingredient in urine with allergy in some children.

Allergies elevated

A recent study in Norway claimed that triclosan levels measured in urine were associated with elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and rhinitis (blocked nose/hay fever) in 10 year-olds.

Triclosan is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial used as an active ingredient in skin and oral care products and as a preservative in water based consumer products.

The study states that an increased use of triclosan and antibacterial products has generally been associated with an increased incidence of allergies; and that similar results have been reported in the US.

“CTPA would like to allay any concerns these stories may have caused parents and consumers who use cosmetics and personal care products that contain triclosan,” says an organization announcement.

‘Not proven’

“The study has not proven triclosan causes allergies; in fact it does not even show that Triclosan is associated with allergies.”

The study claims that approximately 50 per cent of the Norwegian children had detectable levels of triclosan, while 80 per cent of American children had measurable levels. The children had approximately the same amount of triclosan exposure.

The extent to which Norwegian children are exposed to triclosan is today uncertain. In the US, where they have annual sampling and monitoring of chemical exposure, there is little evidence that exposure to triclosan is being reduced.

Flaws

However the CTPA states that the increase in allergies observed during the study is very small and not statistically significant.

“Looking at the way the study was designed and carried out shows that it was probably biased. Scientific studies are normally carefully designed to eliminate any bias and to give objective results,” it continues.

“This study suffers from numerous flaws that are all too common in this kind of restricted investigation and provides little or no useful information to the scientific community. There is certainly no reason to avoid cosmetic products containing Triclosan, which provides real health benefits to consumers safely.”