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August 11, 1978

Medical News

JAMA. 1978;240(6):513-521. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290060015003

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New study shows hexachlorophene is teratogenic in humans  Following studies demonstrating the neurotoxicity of hexachlorophene (HCP), especially to newborns, the Food and Drug Administration in 1972 restricted use of the disinfectant to physician prescription and its use in neonatal units was largely discontinued.Now a study by a Swedish physician suggests that the use of detergents containing HCP should be further limited, since repeated handwashing with HCP-containing detergents by nurses was found to be associated with a greatly increased incidence of both major and minor birth defects in their offspring.Hildegard Halling, MD, chief physician in the Department of Chronic Somatic Diseases at the Sodertalje Hospital in Stockholm, told a New York Academy of Sciences conference on Health Effects of Chlorinated Hydrocarbons that she formed a "clinical impression" a few years ago that there was an increased incidence of congenital malformations among babies born to nurses who washed frequently