Antibacterial soap may hinder muscle function: study

A chemical found in soap, toothpaste, clothes and toys may cause muscle   problems and should be used with caution, experts have said.

By , Medical Editor 7:20AM BST 14 Aug 2012

Researchers found an antibacterial agent, called triclosan, hampers muscle   function in animals and fish and may have implications for human health.

After testing the substance on mice and fish they found muscle strength was   reduced, including heart function and fish were unable to swim as well.

The findings were published online in the Proceedings of the National   Academy of Sciences.

Isaac Pessah, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences   in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of   the study, said: “Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and   is pervasive in the environment.

“These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern   to both human and environmental health.”

In experiments the researchers exposed animals and fish to levels of triclosan   equivalent to that which people may receive daily.

The team also found that triclosan impairs heart and skeletal muscle   contractility in living animals.

Anaesthetised mice had up to a 25 per cent reduction in heart function   measures within 20 minutes of exposure to the chemical.

Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, professor of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis and a   study co-author, said: “The effects of triclosan on cardiac function   were really dramatic.

“Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like   a potent cardiac depressant in our models.”

Bruce Hammock, a study co-author and professor in the University of California   Davis’ Department of Entomology, said: “We were surprised by the large   degree to which muscle activity was impaired in very different organisms and   in both cardiac and skeletal muscle.

“You can imagine in animals that depend so totally on muscle activity   that even a 10 per cent reduction in ability can make a real difference in   their survival.

“Triclosan can be useful in some instances, however it has become a   ubiquitous ‘value added’ marketing factor that actually could be more   harmful than helpful. At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic   reduction in its use.”

Further studies are needed to establish the effect triclosan has on human   muscles, the researchers said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9472481/Antibacterial-soap-may-hinder-muscle-function-study.html

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