Nanoplastics damage marine creatures’ natural defences, increasing lethal effects of POPs

Nanoplastic Ingestion Enhances Toxicity of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Monogonont Rotifer Brachionus koreanus via Multixenobiotic Resistance (MXR) Disruption

Nano-sized particles of plastic can be more damaging to marine species than larger sized microplastics, a new study shows.

Lab tests revealed that nanoplastics can damage cell membranes in tiny marine creatures called rotifers (Rotifera), disrupting their natural defences against toxicants.

The researchers found that rotifers that had been exposed to nanoparticles of polystyrene were significantly more susceptible to the lethal effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Reference.


Among the various materials found inside microplastic pollution, nanosized microplastics are of particular concern due to difficulties in quantification and detection; moreover, they are predicted to be abundant in aquatic environments with stronger toxicity than microsized microplastics. Here, we demonstrated a stronger accumulation of nanosized microbeads in the marine rotifer Brachionus koreanus compared to microsized ones, which was associated with oxidative stress-induced damages on lipid membranes. In addition, multixenobiotic resistance conferred by P-glycoproteins and multidrug resistance proteins, as a first line of membrane defense, was inhibited by nanoplastic pre-exposure, leading to enhanced toxicity of 2,2′,4,4′-tetrabromodiphenyl ether and triclosan in B. koreanus. Our study provides a molecular mechanistic insight into the toxicity of nanosized microplastics toward aquatic invertebrates and further implies the significance of synergetic effects of microplastics with other environmental persistent organic pollutants.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Behavior

Special issue of Hormones and Behavior, Volume 101, Pages 1-148, May 2018

The peer-reviewed journal Hormones and Behavior, Volume 101, Pages 1-148 (May 2018), raises concern about how many of the 90,000+ chemicals in use today may disrupt our most basic endocrine systems with significant consequences for neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, healthy brain aging, and behavior.

Several articles address bisphenol A :

About PDBEs, triclosan, and other replacement chemicals :

Other studies included in this special issue address behavioral effects of voluntary taken pharmaceuticals, including birth control pills, and pain medications.

About DES and the BRAIN :

Exposure to triclosan can alter thyroid activity in early childhood

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

2018 Study Highlights

  • We measured triclosan levels 3 times during gestation and 3 times during childhood
  • We measured thyroid function during pregnancy and at delivery and age 3 years
  • Triclosan levels during pregnancy were not associated with maternal thyroid levels
  • Triclosan levels at delivery were associated with reduced neonatal thyroxine levels
  • Triclosan levels at age 1 year were associated with higher child thyroxine levels


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.

In the HOME Study, a prospective cohort from Cincinnati, OH, we measured urinary triclosan concentrations up to three times in pregnant women between 16 weeks and delivery, and up to three times in children between age 1–3 years. 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 3 years (n = 153). We estimated covariate-adjusted differences in thyroid hormones with a 10-fold increase in triclosan using linear regression and multiple informants models.

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 3 years. Higher gestational triclosan, particularly around the time of delivery, was associated with lower cord serum total thyroxine (β: 0.3 μg/dL; 95% CI: − 0.6, − 0.0). Childhood triclosan, particularly at age 1 year, was positively associated with total thyroxine at age 3 years (β: 0.7 μg/dL; 95% CI: 0.3, 1.2).

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.

Age and body mass index v. Triclosan exposure, and diminished ovarian reserve

Urinary triclosan concentrations and diminished ovarian reserve among women undergoing treatment in a fertility clinic

2017 Study Abstract

To investigate the association between urinary triclosan concentrations and antral follicle count (AFC), a well-accepted marker of ovarian reserve, among women from a fertility center.

Prospective cohort study.

Hospital fertility center.

A total of 109 women.

Urinary triclosan concentrations quantified by online solid phase extraction-high performance liquid chromatography-isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry.

Main Outcome Measure(s)
AFC through transvaginal ultrasonography on the third day of an unstimulated menstrual cycle or on the third day of a progesterone withdrawal bleed.

The geometric mean of the specific gravity–adjusted urinary triclosan concentrations for the 225 samples provided by the 109 women was 13.0 μg/L (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.9, 19.1). Women had median (with interquartile range) AFC of 13 (8, 18). The specific gravity–adjusted urinary triclosan concentrations were inversely associated with AFC (−4%; 95% CI, −7%, −1%). Women with triclosan concentrations above the median had lower AFC compared with those whose triclosan concentrations were equal to or below the median, with an adjusted difference of −3.2 (95% CI, −3.9, −1.6) among those with a body mass index <25 kg/m2 and −1.8 (95% CI, −3.2, −0.3) among those who were <35 years old.

Specific gravity–adjusted urinary triclosan concentrations were inversely associated with AFC in women seeking care at a fertility center. This association was modified by age and body mass index, with the younger and leaner women showing larger decreases in AFC.

  • Urinary triclosan concentrations and diminished ovarian reserve among women undergoing treatment in a fertility clinic, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Volume 108, Issue 2, Pages 312–319, August 2017.
  • Antibacterial Soap Triclosan image credit Mike Mozart.

The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban

More than 200 scientists outline a broad range of concerns for triclosan and triclocarban and call for reduced use worldwide

Two ingredients used in thousands of products to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses linger in the environment and pose a risk to human health, according to a statement released today by more than 200 scientists and health professionals.

The scientists say the possible benefits in most uses of triclosan and triclocarban – used in some soaps, toothpastes, detergents, paints, carpets – are not worth the risk.


“Triclosan and triclocarban have been permitted for years without definitive proof they’re providing benefits.”

Avery Lindeman, Green Policy Institute

The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban.

These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials. Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, this statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. Evidence of other hazards to humans and ecosystems from triclosan and triclocarban is presented along with recommendations intended to prevent future harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects.

Because antimicrobials can have unintended adverse health and environmental impacts, they should only be used when they provide an evidence-based health benefit. Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.

Sources, Studies, Press Releases

  • The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban, Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP1788, JUNE 2017.
  • Patterns, Variability, and Predictors of Urinary Triclosan Concentrations during Pregnancy and Childhood, Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00325, May 18, 2017
  • Hundreds of scientists call for caution on anti-microbial chemical use, EHN, June 20, 2017.
  • Hygiene leaves kids with loads of triclosan, EHN, June 1, 2017.
  • Image credit Mike Mozart.

Green is the New Pink

Stop Putting Cancer-causing Chemicals on Your Face

Many beauty ingredients have been linked to breast cancer.


Endocrine Disruptors

Personal Care Products

Are your PCPs really Safe?


Endocrine Disruptors

Perturbateurs endocriniens : tous intoxiqués?

Les nouveaux poisons de notre quotidien

Enquête de santé, Allo Docteurs France 5, 01/02/2017.

Un documentaire / débat diffusé le 31 janvier 2017 sur France 5.



Les perturbateurs endocriniens, substances chimiques, sont présentes dans de nombreux objets de consommation courante : plastiques, résidus de pesticides sur les fruits et légumes, OGM, cosmétiques, lunettes, semelles de chaussures… Ils interagissent avec le système hormonal et seraient responsables de l’augmentation de certains cancers, selon des associations impliquées dans les problèmes de santé liés à l’environnement.

Sur le même sujet

Le Distilbène, Perturbateur Endocrinien

Occurrence and migration of a wide range EDCs from intact surfaces of baby teethers

Migration of Parabens, Bisphenols, Benzophenone-Type UV Filters, Triclosan, and Triclocarban from Teethers and Its Implications for Infant Exposure

Certain teething products often used for young children and babies may contain bisphenols, parabens, triclosan and harmful chemicals – including those marked BPA-free – all materials that are used in personal care products and plastics that have been banned or restricted by the EU and US governments.


Parabens (p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters), bisphenols, benzophenone-type UV filters, triclosan, and triclocarban are used in a variety of consumer products, including baby teethers. Nevertheless, the exposure of infants to these chemicals through the use of teethers is still unknown.

In this study, 59 teethers, encompassing three types, namely solid plastic, gel-filled, and water-filled (most labeled “bisphenol A-free”), were collected from the U.S. market and analyzed for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from intact surfaces through migration/leaching tests performed with Milli-Q water and methanol.

Migration of Parabens, Bisphenols, Benzophenone-Type UV Filters, Triclosan, and Triclocarban from Teethers and Its Implications for Infant Exposure Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04128, December 7, 2016.

baby booty by pinprick.

The total amount of the sum of six parent parabens (Σ6 Parabens) leached from teethers ranged from 2.0 to 1990 ng, whereas that of their four transformation products (Σ4 Parabens) ranged from 0.47 to 839 ng. The total amount of the sum of nine bisphenols (Σ9 bisphenols) and 5 benzophenones (Σ5 benzophenones) leached from teethers ranged from 1.93 to 213 ng and 0.59 to 297 ng, respectively. Triclosan and triclocarban were found in the extracts of teethers at approximately 10-fold less amounts than were bisphenols and benzophenones.

Based on the amount leached into Milli-Q water, daily intake of these chemicals was estimated from the use of teethers by infants at 12 months of age. This is the first study to document the occurrence and migration of a wide range EDCs from intact surfaces of baby teethers.

Aquatic life needs further protection from effects of personal care products

An aggregate analysis of personal care products in the environment: identifying the distribution of environmentally-relevant concentrations

Personal care products (PCPs) are a diverse group of products, including toothpaste, shampoo, make-up and soaps. The number and use of these products has increased over recent decades, generating concern about their impact on the environment. This literature review analysed over 5 000 reports of environmental detection of 95 different chemicals from PCPs. The analysis reveals toxic levels of PCP chemicals in raw and treated wastewater, and in surface water. The researchers recommend treatment methods focusing on antimicrobials, UV filters and fragrance molecules.


An aggregate analysis of personal care products in the environment: Identifying the distribution of environmentally-relevant concentrations, science direct, Environment International, Volumes 92–93, July–August 2016, Pages 301–316, September 2016.

Lines on surface by patricksinot.

Over the past 3–4 decades, per capita consumption of personal care products (PCPs) has steadily risen, resulting in increased discharge of the active and inactive ingredients present in these products into wastewater collection systems. PCPs comprise a long list of compounds employed in toothpaste, sunscreen, lotions, soaps, body washes, and insect repellants, among others. While comprehensive toxicological studies are not yet available, an increasing body of literature has shown that PCPs of all classes can impact aquatic wildlife, bacteria, and/or mammalian cells at low concentrations. Ongoing research efforts have identified PCPs in a variety of environmental compartments, including raw wastewater, wastewater effluent, surface water, wastewater solids, sediment, groundwater, and drinking water.

Here, an aggregate analysis of over 5000 reported detections was conducted to better understand the distribution of environmentally-relevant PCP concentrations in, and between, these compartments. The distributions were used to identify whether aggregated environmentally-relevant concentration ranges intersected with available toxicity data. For raw wastewater, wastewater effluent, and surface water, a clear overlap was present between the 25th–75th percentiles and identified toxicity levels.

This analysis suggests that improved wastewater treatment of antimicrobials, UV filters, and polycyclic musks is required to prevent negative impacts on aquatic species.