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Chemical in some soaps and toothpastes linked to osteoporosis, study finds

Women with higher levels of triclosan were more likely to have the bone disease
Jane Kirby (PA)

WOMEN exposed to a chemical used in some toothpastes, soaps and antibacterial products are at higher risk of osteoporosis, a study suggests.

Researchers found that women with higher levels of triclosan, which has been previously linked to bowel cancer and antibiotic resistance, were more likely to have the bone disease.

Triclosan is added to some antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics. It can also be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned triclosan from antiseptic and antibacterial hand rubs and hand washes, but no such ban exists in the UK.

Unilever is one manufacturer that has phased out triclosan from its products in response to consumer demand, although it says it is confident the chemical is safe.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, analysed data from 1,848 women and found that those with higher levels of triclosan in their urine were more likely to have bone issues.

Author Yingjun Li, from Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in Hangzhou, China, said: "Laboratory studies have demonstrated that triclosan may have potential to adversely affect the bone mineral density in cell lines or in animals.

"However, little is known about the relationship between triclosan and human bone health.

"As far as we know, this is the first epidemiological study to investigate the association between triclosan exposure with bone mineral density and osteoporosis in a nationally representative sample from US adult women."

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