Traces of a chemical compound called triclosan are showing up in the environment and raising concerns about its potential to impact human health.
The St. Cloud Times reports that Prof. Bill Arnold from the University of Minnesota, who is researching triclosan, met with river advocates and citizens in St. Cloud. He told them that the chemical is showing up in increasing levels in sediment at the bottom of the Mississippi River. In Lake Pepin, levels of dioxins formed from triclosan are 200 percent higher than in 1970.
Thirty years ago, triclosan began showing up as an anti-bacterial agent in consumer products including hand soap and toothpaste. Now it is also in plastics, cleaning products and clothing. Triclosan eventually ends up in the environment when it goes down the drain. One study found that 75 percent of people had triclosan in their urine, Arnold said.
The research continues into the health effects of triclosan. Some studies suggest it interferes with muscle function in mice. Findings also show that it can contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics and interfere with the hormone system.