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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Urinary Triclosan Concentration during Pregnancy Associated with Birth Outcomes

Exposure to triclosan as assessed by urinary triclosan concentration is inversely associated with several measures of infant size at birth, according to a new study led by current MPH student Ms. Taylor Etzel and Dr. Joseph Braun, RGSS Assistant Professor of Public Health and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology.

[Photo: Ms. Taylor Etzel]

Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that is widely used in some toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, cosmetics, lotions, textiles, toys, and kitchenware; exposure is extremely common in pregnant women in the Unites States.

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between exposure to triclosan in pregnancy and birth outcomes, using a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area. To assess urinary triclosan concentrations, 378 pregnant women provided urine samples at 16 and 26 weeks gestation and then were followed through delivery. The researchers found that an increased urinary triclosan concentration during pregnancy was associated with a decrease in birth weight, birth length, head circumference, and gestational age. Whether the child was male or female did not modify the associations between triclosan and birth outcomes, nor did the timing of exposure.

The results of this study, published in Environmental Research, suggest that exposure during pregnancy to triclosan, a common substance, is associated with a variety of adverse birth outcomes. The researchers suggest that future research explore specific windows during pregnancy of heightened vulnerability to triclosan.