Associations of early life urinary triclosan concentrations with maternal, neonatal, and child thyroid hormone levels

Horm Behav. 2018 May;101:77-84. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.11.009. Epub 2017 Dec 6.


Background: Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent used in some consumer products, reduces endogenous thyroid hormone concentrations in rodents. Despite ubiquitous triclosan exposure and the importance of thyroid hormones for normal fetal development, few human studies have examined the impact of triclosan exposure on maternal, neonatal, or child thyroid hormones.

Methods: In the HOME Study, a prospective cohort from Cincinnati, OH, we measured urinary triclosan concentrations up to three times in pregnant women between 16weeks and delivery, and up to three times in children between age 1-3years. We quantified serum concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone and total and free thyroxine and triiodothyronine in mothers at 16-weeks gestation (n=202), neonates at delivery (n=274), and children at age 3years (n=153). We estimated covariate-adjusted differences in thyroid hormones with a 10-fold increase in triclosan using linear regression and multiple informants models.

Results: Triclosan was not associated with thyroid hormones during pregnancy. We observed a few associations of triclosan concentrations with thyroid hormone concentrations in neonates at delivery and children at age 3years. Higher gestational triclosan, particularly around the time of delivery, was associated with lower cord serum total thyroxine (β: 0.3μg/dL; 95% CI: -0.6, -0.0). Childhood triclosan, particularly at age 1year, was positively associated with total thyroxine at age 3years (β: 0.7μg/dL; 95% CI: 0.3, 1.2).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that triclosan exposure may influence some features of neonatal and early child thyroid function. Given the large number of comparisons we made, these findings should be replicated in other cohorts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn / blood*
  • Infant, Newborn / urine*
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Mothers*
  • Pregnancy / blood
  • Pregnancy / urine
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / blood
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects* / urine
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood*
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Triclosan / urine*
  • Triiodothyronine / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Triclosan
  • Thyroxine