ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- An ingredient in antibacterial soaps may provoke more allergies, and some plastics used in soap bottles may affect the immune system, U.S. researchers say.
Triclosan, widely used in products such as antibacterial soaps, and bisphenol A, found in many plastics and food containers, are both in a category of chemicals called endocrine-disrupting compounds thought to threaten human health by mimicking or affecting hormones, ScienceDaily.com reported Tuesday.
A University of Michigan School of Public Health study compared levels of urinary bisphenol AA and triclosan with cytomegalovirus antibodies and diagnoses of allergies or hay fever in a sample of U.S. adults and children over age 6.
Allergy and hay fever diagnoses and elevated CMV antibodies were used as two separate markers of immune alterations in the study, researchers said.
"We found that people over age 18 with higher levels of bisphenol A exposure had higher CMV antibody levels, which suggests their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly," university researcher Erin Rees Clayton said.
The study also found people age 18 and under with higher levels of triclosan were more likely to report diagnoses of allergies and hay fever.
"The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the 'hygiene hypothesis,' which maintains living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to micro-organisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system," researcher Allison Aiello said.
"It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good," Aiello said.