Hand sanitiser ingredients found in fresh water sources

6th of September 2012
Hand sanitiser ingredients found in fresh water sources

An increased use of hand sanitisers over recent years is having a knock-on effect on our lakes and rivers, according to a recent study.

Scientists at Arizona State University claim that ingredients from hand sanitisers are filtering into water reserves with a potential impact on the environment, wildlife and people.

US researchers analysed fresh water sources in the state of Minnesota and found widespread evidence of the presence of triclosan and triclocarban. These are both active ingredients commonly found in sanitisers, antimicrobial soaps and disinfectants.

Experts traced the products from homes to sewers to wastewater treatment plants and eventually downstream into natural waterways. Both triclocarban and triclosan have been scrutinised by public health bodies in the past over concerns about their impact on environmental and public health.

Professor Rolf Halden, director of environmental security at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, said: "This study underscores the extent to which additives of?antimicrobial consumer products are polluting freshwater environments in the US."

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has previously claimed that research shows "valid concerns" about triclosan including the risk that it can disrupt the body's endocrine system and help create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Hand sanitiser sales have been growing over recent years following the swine flu scare of 2009. Pharmacy chain Superdrug has reported a 12 per cent increase in sales in the US and UK this summer compared with the same period last year.




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