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A chemical present in some toothpastes and soaps has been linked with brain damage to babies in the womb. Scientists fear that pregnant women who are exposed to particularly high levels of the chemical triclosan, may be putting their babies at risk.
The findings suggest triclosan could disrupt blood flow to the uterus thus starving a baby’s brain of the oxygen it needs to develop properly. Urgent investigations into the dangers to unborn babies have been called for. Triclosan is a powerful anti-bacterial chemical that was developed nearly 50 years ago. It is often used in toothpastes, deodorants and liquid soaps as well as washing-up liquid and anti-bacterial chopping boards.
Latest studies on sheep showed it interferes with an enzyme that allows the hormone oestrogen to circulate in the womb which helps keep open the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood to the foetus. If there is too little, this artery narrows and oxygen supplies are depleted. In the UK, the chemical’s use is covered by the EU Cosmetics Directive, which says it is safe to use to the maximum content of 0.3 per cent. GlaxoSmithKline has phased out triclosan in its Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpaste. It is still used in Colgate Total.
Despite assurances, it has been suggested that pregnant women avoid triclosan... just to be sure.