Some soap, toothpaste and mouthwash might cause allergies
Certain antibacterial chemicals and preservatives may not be as helpful to a child's health as many believe.
A new study conducted at John Hopkins University has determined that many soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain the antibacterial agent triclosan and the common preservative agent propyl paraben decrease the levels of IgE antibodies in the immune system.
These antibodies help fight environmental allergies, and the study shows that a lack of them in a child's developing immune system could mean trouble when it comes to fighting environmental allergies when they get older.
“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” lead investigator Dr. Jessica Savage said in a statement.
Scientists gathered their findings by comparing urinary samples of 860 children between the ages of 6-18. The children with the highest level of triclosan present in their samples were nearly twice as susceptible to developing allergies. Children exposed to propyl paraben were even more at risk.
These findings contribute to other recent reports that say children today may simply be too clean for their own good, and that a lack of exposure to pathogens in early childhood development robs the immune system of the tools to fight them as a body ages.
The study doesn't purport that these antibacterials and preservatives themselves cause environmental allergies but have an effect on the immune system that might be detrimental to its development.
It's too late for people already suffering from environmental allergies, who need to take other steps to make sure they can breathe easy. Products like HEPA air filters or hypoallergenic bedding keep environmental allergens at bay.