Second Generation Effects Teratogenicity

Teratogenicity has been reported (11), but was not confirmed in an expert review (12). In a 1977 study of Swedish medical personnel it was suggested that repeated handwashing with hexachlorophene-containing detergents during the first trimester of pregnancy could be associated with a greatly increased incidence of both major and minor birth defects in the offspring (11). This publication was the subject of extensive discussion, but it had several serious methodological deficiencies, and the hypothesis that hexachlorophene was teratogenic has never been further examined or confirmed. One reason why it was initially taken seriously was the fact that hexachlorophene crosses the placenta and accumulates in fetal neural tissue in mice and rats; the administration of toxic doses in these species is associated with birth defects, including cleft palate, hydro-cephalus, anophthalmia, and microphthalmia in rats.

Topical exposure of male neonatal rats to a commercial hexachlorophene formulation produced significantly reduced fertility, resulting in inability to ejaculate. It was possibly caused by dioxin, an "androgenic'' contaminant of hexachlorophene, responsible for permanent disruption of the integrated ejaculatory reflex. However, in subneurotoxic concentrations, hexachlorophene did not seem to cause significant impairment of spermatogenesis in rats or dogs.


Hexachlorophene is secreted into breast milk (13).

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