One of the key ingredients in hand sanitizer, triclosan, is raising concerns after an American study showed that the chemical slows muscle function.
- Researchers are concerned about the impact of the chemical, which is also used in all manner of household objects from toothpaste to deodorant, on human and ecosystem health as triclosan is pervasive in the environment and has been detected in waterways, aquatic organisms and human blood.
- Reduced swimming ability was seen in fish exposed to the chemical and cardiac function in mice was reduced.
- It is feared that the chemical may have health implications for people with existing heart conditions.
It is possible that triclosan in the environment is affecting species and ecosystem function in the UK, particularly in aquatic settings. Impaired muscle function may make some species prone to predators or inferior competitors, altering community make-up in an ecosystem however whether the impacts will become extensive or severe is unknown.