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

Jessica H. Savage, Elizabeth C. Matsui, Robert A. Wood, Corinne A. Keet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-460.e7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Triclosan
  • aeroallergen
  • allergy
  • benzophenone
  • bisphenol A
  • endocrine-disrupting compound
  • food
  • paraben
  • sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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