Triclosan exposure and allergic sensitization in Norwegian children

Allergy. 2013 Jan;68(1):84-91. doi: 10.1111/all.12058. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Background: Exposure to the synthetic antimicrobial chemical, triclosan, used in personal care products, has been hypothesized to lead to allergic disease. We investigated whether triclosan exposure was associated with allergic sensitization and symptoms in 10-year-old Norwegian children.

Methods: Urinary concentrations of triclosan were measured in one first morning void from 623 children, collected during 2001-2004. Logistic regression models, controlling for urine specific gravity, parental allergic disease, maternal education, and household income, were fitted for allergic sensitization (either skin prick test positivity or serum-specific IgE ≥ 0.35 kU/l to at least one of 15 evaluated inhalant and food allergens), current rhinitis, and current asthma (questionnaire and exercise challenge test).

Results: The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for allergic sensitization among those in the fourth quartile of triclosan concentration was 2.0 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 3.4] compared with the reference group (<the limit of detection), and the aOR per log(10) unit increase in triclosan was 1.2 (95% CI: 1.0, 1.4). The aOR for current rhinitis was 1.9 (95% CI: 1.1, 3.4) for the fourth quartile and 1.2 (95% CI: 0.97, 1.4) per log(10) unit increase in triclosan.

Conclusion: Triclosan concentrations were associated with allergic sensitization, especially inhalant and seasonal allergens, rather than food allergens. Current rhinitis was associated with the highest levels of triclosan, whereas no association was seen for current asthma. These results are consistent with recent findings in other studies and provide additional evidence for an association between triclosan and allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Male
  • Rhinitis / diagnosis
  • Rhinitis / immunology
  • Triclosan / immunology*
  • Triclosan / urine


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Triclosan