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Toothpaste ingredient behind rise of superbugs

The study, led by Jianhua Guo from University of Queensland in Australia focused on triclosan, a compound used in more than 2,000 personal care products.


PTI
Updated: 20-06-2018 16:28 IST
Toothpaste ingredient behind rise of superbugs

"We then wondered whether non-antibiotic, antimicrobial (NAAM) chemicals such as triclosan can directly induce antibiotic resistance," Guo said. (Image Credit: Wikipedia))

A common ingredient found in toothpastes and hand washes could be contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, a study has found.

The study, led by Jianhua Guo from University of Queensland in Australia focused on triclosan, a compound used in more than 2,000 personal care products.

Guo said while it was well-known the overuse and misuse of antibiotics could create 'superbugs', researchers were unaware that other chemicals could also induce antibiotic resistance until now.

"Wastewater from residential areas has similar or even higher levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes compared to hospitals, where you would expect greater antibiotic concentrations," he said.

"We then wondered whether non-antibiotic, antimicrobial (NAAM) chemicals such as triclosan can directly induce antibiotic resistance," Guo said.

"These chemicals are used in much larger quantities at an everyday level, so you end up with high residual levels in the wider environment, which can induce multi-drug resistance," he said.

"This discovery provides strong evidence that the triclosan found in personal care products that we use daily is accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistance," he added.

The discovery should be a wake-up call to re-evaluate the potential impact of such chemicals, said Zhiguo Yuan from University of Queensland.

"While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of triclosan in antibacterial soap, the previous lack of unequivocal evidence prevented such a policy being adopted in other countries," Yuan said.

Antimicrobial resistance has become a major threat to public health globally with about 700,000 people a year dying from superbug infections.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance report predicted this will reach 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if no action is taken now.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : India