This popular (and dangerous!) soap ingredient is all washed up

Your parents or grandparents never spent much time shopping for soap. They went to the store, grabbed some bars of soap and put them next to the sink and in the shower.

Soap was soap, and that was that.

Well, my friend, times have changed. You can spend hours picking out soap, choosing between overpowering artificial scents and soaps that claim to do everything from moisturize to sanitize.

The most popular soaps of all are the ones that say "antibacterial" on the label, promising to kill off not only common disease-causing bacteria but even viruses such as those that cause the cold and flu.

But new research shows it's just another marketing lie.

These soaps contain a small amount of an antibacterial chemical called triclosan. In a series of tests, researchers put an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan -- the maximum allowed by law -- up against plain old soap like your grandparents used.

They scrubbed and rinsed for up to 30 seconds (which, let's face it, is longer than most people wash their hands for... and that's if they even wash at all).

And -- no surprise -- they both were equally effective at getting rid of bacteria, according to the study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The study found that triclosan can be a little more effective... but only if you soak in it for HOURS! But you don't want to touch this stuff at all -- not for 30 seconds, and not even for 3 seconds.

You see, triclosan isn't just a germ-killer. It's a chemical pesticide that's so dangerous there are growing calls to ban it from soap in any amount (and some places, such as Minnesota, have already banned the stuff).

This dangerous chemical can mess with your hormone levels, damage your liver and may even help tumors to grow.

Studies have also found that triclosan can cross the blood-brain barrier and disrupt communication with muscle, including the muscles that power your heart. In a study on mice, triclosan reduced heart function by 25 percent.

So if you want clean hands free of illness-causing germs, just get some plain old soap and scrub for 30 seconds -- just like your grandparents did.