Many antibacterial personal care products are commonly used during pregnancy and by nursing women to protect against infectious disease. (Photo: Pixabay)
Washington D.C.: A new animal study has found that use of a common nonprescription antimicrobial, triclocarban (TCC) during pregnancy and breast-feeding may alter the offspring's composition of intestinal bacteria and other micro-organisms, called the gut microbiota.
The gut microbiota contains both beneficial and harmful microbes, and changes in its normal composition are linked to diseases including obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and asthma.
TCC is frequently added to antibacterial bar soap. Many antibacterial personal care products are commonly used during pregnancy and by nursing women to protect against infectious disease, said lead author, Rebekah Kennedy of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
She added that the research adds to the growing body of scientific literature, suggesting unintended health consequences related to nonprescription antimicrobial use and will allow pregnant and nursing mothers to make informed decisions regarding use of these antimicrobial products.
The researchers fed female rats chow supplemented with TCC throughout pregnancy and a 16-day nursing period after the rat pups were born. Compared with unexposed rats, TCC exposure led to a reduced average number of microbial taxa present in each sample among mother rats and pups, the researchers found.
Kennedy noted that the ability of TCC antimicrobial exposure to change the composition of the microbial community warrants future investigation to determine the health outcomes resulting from TCC exposure during sensitive windows of prenatal development and early life.
Presentation of the results will take place at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.