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Crit Rev Toxicol. 2017 Apr;47(4):263-285. doi: 10.1080/10408444.2016.1269722. Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Hypothesis-driven weight-of-evidence analysis of endocrine disruption potential: a case study with triclosan.

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a Environmental and Regulatory Resources, LLC , Durham , NC , USA.
b Colgate-Palmolive Company , Piscataway , NJ , USA.


Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent used in a range of consumer products, such as deodorants, oral care, clothing, and household items. As with many consumer products, triclosan can be rinsed down the drain and transported to wastewater treatment plants. While most is eliminated during activated sludge sewage treatment by biodegradation and adsorption, some triclosan enters the aquatic environment and may expose wildlife. Given the potential for exposure to both humans and wildlife, resolving whether triclosan is endocrine active is important due to growing concerns about potential adverse public health and environmental effects of endocrine-disrupting substances. A weight of evidence (WoE) analysis focusing on specific hypotheses related to interaction with estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone pathways, and steroidogenesis was applied to triclosan. This WoE procedure involved systematic consideration of each endpoint, focused on screening level studies in the US Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, as well as those in levels 1 through 5 of the OECD Conceptual Framework. This was followed by a semiquantitative relevance weighting of each endpoint to a given hypothesis to reach scientifically justified conclusions. Use of all relevant and reliable information and consistent observations in multiple studies strengthen support for or against each mode of action hypothesis. Using data from multiple animal species and in vitro systems, this systematic and transparent WoE assessment indicated that triclosan is not acting as an agonist or antagonist within the estrogen, androgen, thyroid, or steroidogenic pathways and is not impacting endocrine pathways as a lead or primary mode of toxicity.


Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program; androgen; antimicrobial; data quality; endocrine agonist; endocrine antagonist; endocrine screening; estrogen; regulatory toxicology; steroidogenesis; thyroid

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