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How Antibacterial Products May Be Affecting Us

Narrator: This is Science Today. Triclocarban, or TCC, is an antibacterial compound that's widely used in household and personal care products, including bar soaps, body washes, lotions, wipes and detergents. Now, a University of California at Davis study is finding that this common chemical can alter hormonal activity in rats and in human cells in the lab. Reproductive toxicologist Bill Lasley says unlike previous studies of endocrine disrupters, which generally block hormone effects, they found that TCC increased hormone effects.

Lasley: If we take triclocarban and we treat animals with it, we can see very quick and immediate adverse effects. For instance, the secondary sex organs grow to much larger size in just ten days. So, in the body - these have real effects. Now, there's a question if humans and their use of personal care products ever get enough of this to be dangerous or to be toxic, but the potential is there.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.