Antibacterial soap could be messing up our unborn babies.

Science Daily gives us research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that show that the active ingredient in antibacterial soap can pass from mother to child and interfere with how fats – like those in nerves and brain cells – are metabolized:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have discovered that exposure to environmental levels of triclocarban (TCC), an antibacterial chemical common in personal care products like soaps and lotions as well as in the medical field, can transfer from mother to offspring and interfere with lipid metabolism.

“Our results are significant because of the potential risk of exposure to TCC through contaminated water sources and in the living environment, and the potential adverse effects resulting from this exposure during development,” said LLNL biologist Heather Enright, the lead author of the paper. “Early life exposure to TCC has the potential to cause irreversible outcomes due to the fragile nature of organ systems and protective mechanisms in developing offspring.”

The team studied mice during gestation and lactation to see if, in fact, exposure to TCC would transfer from mother to offspring. Researchers administered TCC laced with carbon-14 to trace how the contaminant distributed in organ systems of female mice and exposed offspring.

Using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), Enright and her colleagues quantified TCC concentrations in offspring and their mothers after exposure. AMS fills a special niche in the biomedical field because it can measure very low concentrations of compounds with extreme accuracy and track bio-distribution and excretion over long periods of time.

“We demonstrated that TCC does effectively transfer from mother to offspring, both trans-placentally and via lactation,” Enright said.

TCC-related compounds were detected in the tissues of offspring with significantly higher concentrations in the brain, heart and fat.

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