Ingredient in antibacterial soap can cause liver cancer


A laboratory study on mice has revealed that a chemical ingredient of soap could trigger liver cancer.

The new study, carried out by the experts at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, found that the commonly used anti-bacterial agent known as triclosan can cause liver cancer.

Study on mice fed relatively large quantities of triclosan (three grams daily for six months) explored increasing growth of liver tumors in animals, according to the report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on November 17.

“Triclosan’s increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice, particularly when combined with other compounds with similar action,” said study co-leader,  Robert Tukey, professor in the departments of chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology.

“Triclosan is damaging liver by interfering with a protein called constitutive androstane receptor, which helps to detoxify the blood. To compensate for this interference, the liver overproduces cells, causing fibrosis and cancer,” researchers clarified.

The finding is significant as it can affect the concept of using antibacterial soaps.

Many consumers have the perception that such soaps help them stay protected from infections.

Triclosan is also used in cosmetics, detergents, shampoos and toothpastes.