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Triclosan & Staph

April 16, 2014

Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent in household products, may actually promote the growth of Staph bacteria in people heavily exposed to it.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Trouble with triclosan. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

What's in your bottle? (Susanne Bard)

What’s in your bottle? (Susanne Bard)

A anti-microbial agent used in household products may actually help Staph

bacteria colonize people. This according to University of Michigan developmental

biologist Blaise Boles. He explains that with enough exposure, triclosan works its

way into people’s bodies.

BLAISE BOLES (University of Michigan):

And our results showed that if a person had triclosan in their nasal secretions, they

were about twice as likely to have the bacterium Staphlococcus aureus in their

nose.

HIRSHON:

What’s more, exposing lab rats to triclosan made them more vulnerable to Staph

infections. Other evidence indicates that in low concentrations, triclosan can, in

fact, help some bacteria rather than kill them. And while nasal Staph bacteria aren’t

usually a big health risk, they can threaten patients weakened by other illnesses,

and increase the chance of post-surgical infections. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS,

the Science Society.