Triclosan and Liver Cancer
New research undertaken at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has found that a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps may cause liver cancer. Triclosan was found to cause liver fibrosis and cancer in mice. It is a cleaning agent found in soap, shampoos, toothpaste and other household items.
It was previously believed that triclosan toxicity in mice was unrelated to humans. The new research casts some doubt on that judgment and suggests triclosan is very dangerous for humans. The study suggests that further research is required to determine exactly how much damage the chemical is doing to the liver.
Triclosan is already being heavily scrutinised because of some evidence that it can disrupt hormones and alter muscle performance. The FDA is already looking at triclosan with some concern.
Researchers suggest that triclosan interferes with the constitutive androstane receptor, which helps the body remove foreign substances from the liver. If the constitutive androstane receptor is impaired, the foreign substances in the liver increase cancer risk.
There are also long standing concerns that triclosan in antibacterial soaps may promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There is no real benefit from the presence of the chemical in soaps either, with research showing normal hand washing with plain soap being just as effective.
This is the latest concern about Triclosan, which is under close review by the FDA.
According to the last FDA statement in 2013:
What is known about the safety of triclosan?
Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review.
Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.