The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?  (Read 2971 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« on: 14/06/2014 05:30:01 »
Pete Girgis asked the Naked Scientists:
   
In this article( http://pda.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142905-25583.html ) it talks about the chemical in antibacterial soap has been banned and can cause some hormone and testosterone levels to change in humans. From listening to your podcast on autism, one of the doctors described the possibly be testosterone related while in the womb. Could this be the correlation and causation? Just a thought.

     
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 14/06/2014 05:30:01 by _system »


 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« Reply #1 on: 14/06/2014 07:13:52 »
Interesting that triclosan reduces testosterone in utero. Autism is far more prevalent among males. Perhaps a little neonatal endocrinology might point to its cause?
 

Offline pgirgis

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« Reply #2 on: 16/06/2014 16:29:22 »
While we dont yet know the cause of autism, its been suggested that high levels of testosterone in the womb may affect brain development and lead to the condition. This may be why males are more likely to have autism than females, at a ratio of about 4:1
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, he is Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University says Weve been looking at the role of this so-called male hormone testosterone and actually both sexes produce the hormone.  Its just that males produce more of it. Weve been looking at the role of that hormone in shaping brain development in typical children and whether higher levels of prenatal testosterone are linked to more autistic traits. Weve been finding mothers who had amniocentesis during pregnancy where you can take some of the fluid that surrounds the baby and analyze it in this case, the testosterone and then wait for the baby to be born. Weve been finding that the children who had higher levels of prenatal testosterone show more autistic traits during postnatal development.
Dr. Randi Hagerman, a doctor and researcher at the MIND Institute (a premier institute studying causes of autism) recently returned from a conference in London. Randi's statement to us is: "We have long suspected the chemical Triclosan, and now the research is absolutely conclusive that this chemical is to xic and is the most likely candidate for autism. Dr. Hagerman stated very strongly "do not use any products with triclosan, and do not use plastic bottles with babies use glass! Triclosan is found in anti-bacterial soaps, some deodorants, and some toothpaste. Triclosan interferes with myelination in the brain. Researchers are starting to study triclosan for a possible link to Alzheimers.
The Endocrine Society, a group of doctors and scientists who specialize in the hormone system, flagged triclosan four years ago as an ingredient that alters levels of thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
A 2009 study by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency showed that triclosan decreases levels of testosterone and sperm production in male rats. Female rats exposed to triclosan showed signs of early puberty and altered levels of estrogen and thyroid hormones.
Kaiser Permanente pulled triclosan from its 37 hospitals across the country in 2010, switching to traditional soaps and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente's vice president for workplace safety, said the hospital chain decided to phase out triclosan as part of its "precautionary approach" to safety issues.
Johnson & Johnson has pledged to remove triclosan from all of its adult products by the end of 2015. The company says none of its baby products currently contain the ingredient.
 

Offline Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8646
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Re: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« Reply #3 on: 16/06/2014 17:05:11 »
It's an interesting idea.
Does the evolution of triclosan use since the 70s mirror the incidence of autism?
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« Reply #4 on: 19/06/2014 06:28:16 »
Rather as I thought. If I read the above correctly,

1. Excessive prenatal testosterone is correlated with autism - experimental fact claimed by Baron-Cohen.
 
2. Triclosan decreases prenatal testosterone - experimental fact claimed by EPA.

so to this pedanic mind at least, more triclosan => less autism. I am therefore puzzled by the assertion that triclosan causes autism: according to experiment, it should prevent it!

Neither Baron-Cohen nor the EPA have a reputation as paragons of sound science, and it now seems that the Endocrine Society should be added to the list of unreliable witch-hunters! 
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Could a chemical in soap cause autism?
« Reply #4 on: 19/06/2014 06:28:16 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums