A recent study conducted by University of Michigan School of Public Health have found out that young people who often use antibacterial soaps that contain Triclosan may become more prone to allergies, as well as adults who are overexposed to high levels of Bisphenol A.

Triclosan is commonly used in making antibacterial soaps, pens, toothpaste, diaper bags and medical devices. Bisphenol A or BPA, on the other hand is a chemical that is present in most plastic products. Triclosan and Bisphenol A are categorized as environmental toxicants and are called endocrine-disrupting compounds. These EDCs are said to affect the health of people in a negative way by targeting the hormones.

U-M researchers gathered information from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare the urinary BPA and Triclosan with the cytomegalovirus or CMV antibody levels. They also looked at the diagnosis of allergies, specifically hay fever among US adults and children above 6 years old. The researchers used two individual markers of immune modification for the hay fever diagnosis and CMV antibodies.

According to Erin Rees Clayton, a research investigator at the U-M School of Public Health and also the first author of the research paper, people who are over 18 years old who were discovered to have high levels of BPA also had higher CMV antibody levels. This shows that their immune system isn’t properly functioning.Research also shows that people who are 18 and below and have higher levels of Triclosan were reported for frequent diagnosis of hay fever and allergies. The scientific community and consumer groups have become greatly concerned over the dangers that EDCs cause humans.

According to Allison Aiello, an associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the study, the Triclosan found among younger people may be connected to the “hygiene hypothesis,” which explains that a person living in a very clean and hygienic place may be more exposed to microorganisms that contribute to the immune system development.

As an antimicrobial agent found in many household products, Triclosan may play a role in changing the microorganisms to which we are exposed in such a way that our immune system development in childhood is affected. Furthermore, Aiello said that there is a great possibility that a “person can be too clean for their own good.” It is specified in previous animal studies that BPA and Triclosan may have an effect on the immune system, but it was just recently exposed that Triclosan and BPA also affects human immune system and its functions.

Rees Clayton reported that exposure to BPA is connected to age. People who are 18 years old and above were associated to higher CMV levels but those who are younger had lower exposure to BPA. Clayton explains that this may have something to do with the quantity of BPA and the length of time in which a person was exposed to the chemical, thus affecting how the immune system responds.