Muscle Impairment Could Damage Fragile Ecosystems
The researchers also looked at how triclosan affected muscle function in fish, since after it goes down our drains at home, triclosan eventually makes its way into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Fish exposed to triclosan for just one week had impaired swimming abilities, which in the wild would make them more vulnerable to predators. That means that triclosan in our water could be disrupting the balance of those ecosystems.
Bruce Hammock professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who was also a study co-author said:
We were surprised by the large degree to which muscle activity was impaired in very different organisms and in both cardiac and skeletal muscle. You can imagine in animals that depend so totally on muscle activity that even a 10-percent reduction in ability can make a real difference in their survival.
Because triclosan is such a common ingredient in over the counter products, we’re washing the stuff down our drains – and eventually into our water systems – every day. This research makes a strong case for getting the triclosan out of consumer products to protect wildlife.
Triclosan was always considered acceptable in hospitals, but this new research throws doubt on its safety in some clinical settings. On the next page, we’ll look at where more research is needed and where triclosan could be doing more harm than good.