Common antibacterial chemical may impair heart muscle, researchers find

August 29, 2012

Sacramento, CA – Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in home care products, may dramatically hinder muscle contractions – including impairing heart function – according to a new study conducted by the University of Colorado and the University of California, Davis.

Triclosan is found in products such as hand soaps and sanitizers, mouthwashes, deodorants, bedding, toys and trash bags, a press release from UC Davis stated.

Researchers performed several experiments in test tubes and on living animals to determine triclosan’s effect on muscle activity. They concluded that the chemical impaired the contraction ability of heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers. Anesthetized mice experienced up to a 25 percent reduction in heart function.

Researchers suggested regulators place greater restrictions on the use of triclosan. The federal government currently is conducting risk assessments of the chemical.

The study was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.