Relationship between urinary triclosan and paraben concentrations and serum thyroid measures in NHANES 2007-2008

Sci Total Environ. 2013 Feb 15;445-446:299-305. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.12.052. Epub 2013 Jan 20.


Triclosan and parabens are broad spectrum antimicrobials used in a range of consumer products. In vitro and animal studies have suggested the potential for these compounds to disrupt thyroid function, though studies in humans have been limited. The objective of the study was to assess the relationship of urinary concentrations of triclosan and parabens with serum thyroid measures in a large, representative sample of the US population. We conducted an exploratory, cross-sectional analysis of data on urinary biomarkers of triclosan and paraben exposure and serum thyroid measures obtained from 1831 subjects (ages≥12 years) as part of the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We found evidence of some inverse associations between parabens and circulating thyroid hormone levels in adults, with the strongest and most consistent associations among females. We also observed a positive association between triclosan and total triiodothyonine (T3) concentrations in adolescents. These results, in accordance with the in vitro and animal literature, suggest that paraben, and potentially triclosan, exposures may be associated with altered thyroid hormone levels in humans. Further research is needed for confirmation and to determine the potential clinical and public health significance of these findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Parabens / metabolism*
  • Thyroglobulin / blood*
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood*
  • Thyrotropin / blood*
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triclosan / urine*
  • Triiodothyronine / blood
  • United States


  • Parabens
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Triclosan
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Thyroxine