Urinary levels of triclosan and parabens are associated with aeroallergen and food sensitization

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Aug;130(2):453-60.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Background: Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) have immune-modulating effects. We were interested in determining their association with allergic sensitization.

Objective: We sought to determine the association between EDCs and allergic sensitization and whether this relationship depends on the antimicrobial properties of the EDCs, sex, or both.

Methods: Data were obtained from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in which urinary bisphenol A; triclosan; benzophenone-3; propyl, methyl, butyl, and ethyl parabens; and specific IgE levels were available for 860 children. Aeroallergen and food sensitizations were defined as having at least 1 positive (≥ 0.35 kU/L) specific IgE level to an aeroallergen or a food. Logistic regression was used to determine the association of EDCs and sensitization. Analyses were adjusted for urinary creatinine level, age, sex, ethnicity, and poverty index ratio.

Results: The odds of aeroallergen sensitization significantly increased with the level of the antimicrobial EDCs triclosan and propyl and butyl parabens (P ≤ .04). The odds of food sensitization significantly increased with the level of urinary triclosan among male subjects (odds ratio for third vs first tertiles, 3.9; P= .02 for trend). There was a significant interaction between sex and triclosan level, with male subjects being more likely to be food sensitized with exposure (P= .03). Similar associations were not identified for the nonantimicrobial EDCs bisphenol A and benzophenone-3 (P > .2).

Conclusions: As a group, EDCs are not associated with allergen sensitization. However, levels of the antimicrobial EDCs triclosan and parabens were significantly associated with allergic sensitization. The potential role of antimicrobial EDCs in allergic disease warrants further study because they are commonly used in Western society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Allergens / urine*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Benzophenones / immunology
  • Benzophenones / urine
  • Child
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / urine*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Male
  • Parabens / adverse effects*
  • Phenols / immunology
  • Phenols / urine
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / urine*
  • Sex Factors
  • Triclosan / adverse effects
  • Triclosan / immunology
  • Triclosan / urine*
  • United States


  • Allergens
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Benzophenones
  • Parabens
  • Phenols
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Triclosan
  • oxybenzone
  • bisphenol A