A common ingredient in antibacterial soap can be found in some people's noses, and the presence of this ingredient could be promoting the colonization of Staph bacteria, according to a small new study in the journal mBio.
Researchers from the University of Michigan found triclosan in the nasal secretions of 41 percent of the 90 people examined in their study. They also found an association between presence of triclosan in the nasal secretions, and colonization of the nasal secretions with Staphylococcus aureus.
Triclosan, which is found in many antibacterial soap products, is already being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration because the chemical's benefits may not actually be proven, and it could even carry health risks.
"It's really common in hand soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes but there's no evidence it does a better job than regular soap," study researcher Blaise Boles, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. "This agent may have unintended consequences in our bodies. It could promote S. aureus nasal colonization, putting some people at increased risk for infection."
Researchers noted in the study that triclosan is absorbed by the GI tract and oral mucosa, which is why traces of it can be found in serum, urine and milk produced by humans.