Another study has found a link between common antibacterical chemicals and the risk of allergies in young children. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical School looked at over 10,000 children enrolled in a national study and found that the higher the level of exposure to triclosan and parabens that these children had, the higher the risk of having at least one food or environmental allergy.
Triclosan and parabens are found in everything from anti-bacterial hand soap to shampoo and toothpaste. They are even added to products like kitchenware, clothing, cosmetics, and toys to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Both chemicals are known endocrine disruptors.
So, should you toss out your hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap if you have a child at risk of food allergies? Maybe. Soaps containing triclosan don't clean any better than regular soap and water, and hand sanitizer doesn't remove food allergerns. Buying regular soap will only reduce your exposure to these chemicals, however. They are in so many consumer products that it is impossible to completely avoid them.
There does seem to be a growing body of evidence that there is another side to the classic "hygiene hypothesis" of food allergies. In addition to not having enough exposure to good bacteria, too much exposure to anti-bacterial chemicals at an early age can increase the risk of developing allergies.