CHILDHOOD allergies may be triggered by a chemical used in lipstick, toothpaste and other personal care products.
A study of more than 600 10-year-olds found exposure to triclosan was linked to higher rates of hay fever.
The chemical, used as a preservative in cosmetics for decades, is also associated with muscle and heart problems.
Researchers fear that it causes bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics and turn in to superbugs.
Scientists who tested urine samples found that one in two Norwegian youngsters and eight in 10 of their American counterparts had detectable levels of the chemical.
The researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said triclosan can change the bacterial colonies on the skin, in the mouth and in the intestines.
A change in the composition of 'good' bacteria can cause an increased risk of developing allergies.
So increased use of triclosan and other antibacterial products has generally been associated with rising cases of allergies.