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Antimicrobials Tied to Allergic Sensitization in Children

Last Updated: June 22, 2012.

Antimicrobial endocrine-disrupting compounds commonly found in toothpaste and cosmetics are associated with a higher risk of allergic sensitization in children, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

FRIDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Antimicrobial endocrine-disrupting compounds commonly found in toothpaste and cosmetics are associated with a higher risk of allergic sensitization in children, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Jessica H. Savage, M.D., M.H.S., and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, examined the association between urinary levels of endocrine-disrupting compounds (bisphenol A; triclosan; benzophenone-3; and propyl, methyl, butyl, and ethyl parabens) and allergic sensitization (immunoglobulin E levels) in 860 children aged 6 to 18 years.

The researchers found that increasing levels of the antimicrobials triclosan and propyl and butyl parabens were significantly more likely to produce aeroallergen sensitization (P ≤ 0.04). For males the level of urinary triclosan correlated with increased odds of food sensitization (odds ratio for highest versus lowest tertile, 3.9; P = 0.02 for trend), and males were significantly more likely to develop food sensitization linked to triclosan exposure (P = 0.03). These associations were not observed with nonantimicrobial endocrine-disrupting compounds.

"Levels of the antimicrobial endocrine-disrupting compounds triclosan and parabens were significantly associated with allergic sensitization," Savage and colleagues conclude. "Because these compounds are found in personal care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, and/or are commonly used as preservatives in foods, drugs, and cosmetics, they are frequently encountered in daily life in Western society."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. One author has provided expert testimony for the National Institutes of Health and receives royalties from UpToDate.

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