Prenatal Triclosan or Triclocarban Product Use and Autism Observational Scale for Infants at 12 Months
The antimicrobial agents triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) have androgen disrupting potential and are widely used in household and personal care products. An increase in prenatal testosterone level has been associated with autistic traits. However, the roles of prenatal TCS and TCC exposures in this context have not been explored.
The goal of this analysis is to examine whether triclosan and triclocarban containing antimicrobial use during pregnancy is associated with early autistic traits.
The EARLI (Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation) cohort follows mothers of a child with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at the start of a subsequent pregnancy through to ASD assessment in the subsequent child. Home walk-through surveys conducted during pregnancy and postpartum were used to estimate dichotomized “early prenatal” and “late prenatal/early postpartum” TCS or TCC product use among 170 pregnancies in the EARLI study. Linear regression models were used to determine the association between dichotomized exposures during early prenatal and late prenatal/early postpartum period and autistic traits at 12 months using AOSI (Autism Observational Scales in Infants) scores.
During the early prenatal period, 89% of mothers reported using at least one personal care product potentially containing TCS/TCC. In the late prenatal/early postpartum period, 73% of mothers reported using personal care products potentially containing TCS/TCC. Among the four categories of personal care products examined, the largest proportion of mothers (67%) reported using TCC/TCS-containing dish soap, followed by antibacterial soap (49%), toothpaste (45%) and body/face soap (19%) during the early prenatal period. The total AOSI scores did not differ by TCS or TCC product use and the results did not differ by sex of the child.
Findings from this study do not support an association between use of TCS or TCC-containing products during pregnancy and total AOSI scores. Product use based TCS/TCC exposure estimate and small sample size may have affected our results and should be considered in future investigations of TCS/TCC exposure and ASD.