It was recently suggested in the journal Environment International that anti-bacterial products could be a danger during pregnancy. During the upcoming common cold months there are more people using antibacterial products than ever and women who are pregnant often try even harder to stay healthy. Perhaps the product many turn to in order to stay germ-free may do more harm than good.
The chemical that gives products their extra helping of anti-bacterial power is called Triclosan. It is used in a variety of products, even those not specifically labeled antibacterial. There are hundreds of products that contain varying amounts of this chemical and it has recently been proven that the chemical may limit the effectiveness of a certain enzyme in the body. The specific enzyme of concern is the one that metabolizes estrogen in the body of women during their pregnancy. This enzyme feeds directly to the developing child and can have negative impacts on what travels between the mother and her child.
The enzyme is called estrogen sulfotransferase and it is partially responsible for the neurological development of a growing baby. Food and oxygen are transported between mother and child through the same channels and as such could also be negatively effected. If the amount of estrogen is lessened it may cause arteries in the body to constrict and reduce blood flow to the developing baby. If the level of estrogen in the body is low enough it may be possible to starve the baby of oxygen which can lead to many future medical complication, conditions, and even in death.
This past April the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) looked into this antibacterial chemical after it was suggested that it may effect hormone production. Several studies were performed to study the negative implications of Triclosan but it wasn’t until recently that the effects were linked to harm during pregnancy.
What Products to Look For
Sanitizing wipes and sprays
Some Toothpaste brands
Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
Any other product that claims to be anti-bacterial
Call to Action
Individuals are urged not to stop using their antibacterial products to prevent illness unless they are pregnant. This is only a recommendation and in no way suggests that these products will be detrimental to the development of a baby. It is currently unknown the level of damage these products do and exactly how much Triclosan needs to be absorbed into the body to do any harm. As always it is beneficial to be safer and take less risk and as such other measures should be taken to avoid illness. Studies will be conducted in the near future to add quantitative information to this suggested theory.
Medical News Today