A study published this month in the Epidemiology journal shows that, during pregnancy, exposure “to certain phenols, especially parabens and triclosan, could disrupt the growth of baby boys [girls were not included in the study] in the womb and during the first few years of life“. This study was carried out by a French-American research consortium.
Triclosan is a chemical antibacterial agent present in “numerous personal hygiene products such as liquid soaps and certain types of toothpaste“. Parabens are “substances that are used as preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products”.
To carry out their study, scientists focused on a cohort of 520 pregnant women who registered with the Nancy and Poitiers University Hospital Centres between 2003 and 2006 and gave birth to baby boys who were monitored up to 3 years of age. The children’s growth was assessed on the basis of ultrasound scans taken during pregnancy and “by measuring their weight and height from birth through to 3 years of age“.
As far as triclosan is concerned, “the amount of exposure to this substance was linked to a slowing down in the development of head circumference as from the 2nd trimester of pregnancy“. Parabens were linked to “an increase in the boys’ weight after birth and particularly between 2 and 3 years of age“.