New research shows that TCC (triclocarban), a chemical used in many soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, and cleaners, is a powerful hormone disruptor. Unlike many other chemicals that make the body less responsive to hormones, TCC powerfully amplifies hormonal effects. In an interview on NPR today the lead researcher said that this may help to explain early puberty--an increasingly common phenomenon. Altered levels of testosterone and estrogen can also play a role in many cancers and other disease processes.
The main product that this chemical is sold in is antibacterial soap. Keep in mind that antibacterial soap is entirely unnecessary and contributes to bacterial resistance and the development of superbugs. Regular ole' soap breaks down the membrane of most types of bacteria and is all anyone needs. There are two take home messages here--first, read my page on environmental pollutants and don't buy products with harmful chemicals in them--your pocketbook can change the world! Second, read labels and don't buy newfangled products with ingredients that you can't pronounce--there may be a study published (or suppressed from publication) tomorrow demonstrating health hazards!