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New study links fate of personal care products to environmental pollution and human health concerns
Date:5/16/2008

Parental concerns in maintaining germ-free homes for their children have led to an ever-increasing demand and the rapid adoption of anti-bacterial soaps and cleaning agents. But the active ingredients of those antiseptic soaps now have come under scrutiny by the EPA and FDA, due to both environmental and human health concerns.

Two closely related antimicrobials, triclosan and triclocarban, are at the center of the debacle. Whereas triclosan (TCS) has long captured the attention of toxicologists due to its structural resemblance to dioxin (the Times Beach and Love Canal poison), triclocarban (TCC) has ski-rocketed in 2004 from an unknown and presumably harmless consumer product additive to one of todays top ten pharmaceuticals and personal care products most frequently found in the environment and in U.S. drinking water resources.

Now, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State Univesity researcher Rolf Halden and co-workers, in a feat of environmental detective work, have traced back the active ingredients of soaps used as long ago as the 1960s to their current location, the shallow sediments of New York Citys Jamaica Bay and the Chesapeake Bay, the nations largest estuary.

Our group has shown that antimicrobial ingredients used a half a century ago, by our parents and grandparents, are still present today at parts-per-million concentrations in estuarine sediments underlying the brackish waters into which New York City and Baltimore discharge their treated domestic wastewater, said Halden, a new member of the institute's Center for Environmental Biotechnology. This extreme environmental persistence by itself is a concern, and it is only amplified by recent studies that show both triclosan and triclocarban to function as endocrine disruptors in mammalian cell cultures and in animal models.

Aiding in his teams research was another type of contamination: the radioactive fallout from nuclear testing conducted in the second half of
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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