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An Antibacterial Chemical Disrupts Hormone Activity

This is Science Today. A common antibacterial chemical has been found to disrupt hormone activities in rats and in human cells in the lab. Bill Lasley, a reproductive toxicologist at the University of California, Davis says their study was the first to investigate the hormone effects of the antibacterial compound triclocarban.

Lasley:            In terms of product, you mainly find it in bar soap and in some shampoos and toothpaste. The bottom line is we have no clear reason for concern at this time. What we see is a potential; but more importantly, what we see is a mechanism that we didn't recognize before.

Narrator:        Triclocarban increased hormone effects, which is a new finding since endocrine disruptors usually block or decrease hormone activities. Lasley says this may explain some rise in reproductive problems.

Lasley:            Early puberty, early breast development, prostate growth - it's possible there's a connection. We don't know it yet, but it's something worth thinking about.

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