If You’re Pregnant, You Need to Avoid This Common Soap and Lotion Ingredient

During pregnancy, it's wise to avoid sushi and cold cuts, specific medications—and now a certain ingredient in products so common you may be slathering them on your body as you read this.

If-You're-Pregnant,-Avoid-This-Common-Soap-and-Lotion-Ingredient-401909971-Kaspars-GrinvaldsKaspars Grinvalds/shutterstockIt’s common for pregnancy to cause changes to the skin, and it’s important for moms-to-be to know what’s in their skin care products—because they might have an affect on the unborn child. For some natural options, check out these all natural beauty products.

New research, published in the August 9, 2017 edition of PLOS ONE, warns against triclocarban (TCC), an antibacterial chemical often found in antibacterial soap, lotion and other personal care products. According to scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, exposure to environmental levels of TCC can transfer from mother to child and interfere with lipid metabolism, which—for the non-scientists among us—means that fats (lipids), such as waxes, fat-soluble vitamins, monoglycerides, diglycerides and triglycerides, won’t get digested by the body. While avoiding fat metabolism might sound like a good thing, fats store energy and are crucial to nerves and cells structure.

The scientists studied mice during gestation and lactation to see if exposure to TCC would transfer from mother to offspring, and what effect it would have on their organ systems. They found TCC-related compounds in the tissues of offspring with significantly higher concentrations in the brain, heart and fat. Additionally, exposed offspring were heavier in weight than unexposed mice.

“We demonstrated that TCC does effectively transfer from mother to offspring, both trans-placentally and via lactation,” says lead author, LLNL biologist Heather Enright, as reported on ScienceDaily. “Exposure to TCC during development may pose a serious health risk to the developing embryo and fetus, as they are more sensitive to alterations in hormone levels, which may result in changes that often are irreversible.”

“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,” says Enright. “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.”

Luckily, it’s easier than it used to be to avoid triclocarban. In September 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned TCC, as well as triclosan and 17 other additives, from over-the-counter antiseptic soap products. The bottom line? Don’t panic! Just be aware of what chemicals to avoid during pregnancy. Don’t forget to pay attention to what goes into your body as well: here are 10 healthy snacks to eat while you’re pregnant.

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