As concern grows around germs and viruses so does the frequency with which we clean. Numerous sanitisers and disinfectants work using QUAT based ingredients however these can be unsafe and ineffective against germs.
What are QUATs?
QUATs (quaternary ammonium compounds) are chemicals commonly found in household cleaning products. These include products like hand sanitisers, surface sanitisers, disinfectant sprays, disinfectant wipes, and toilet cleaners. Their use has more than doubled since the Covid 19 pandemic began.
Are QUATs safe?
There are many potential adverse health effects for those using Quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs). QUATs have been banned by the European Union from body and hand washes due to safety concerns. Research currently being conducted into the dangers of QUATS has found that they:
- Can induce asthma, including new onset of asthma in people with no prior condition
- residue in household dust doubled in 2019
- Can cause contact dermatitis
- Have been related to birth defects in mice
- Cause oxidative respiratory damage in rodents
- Produce genotoxicity and low concentration cell toxicity
- Increase antibiotic cross-resistance in bacteria which contributes to the rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria (“superbugs”)
- Cause eye and mucous membrane injuries from splashes or mists
- Linger on surfaces, which increases exposure to children and pets
- Can cause oral and gastrointestinal injuries from ingesting solutions
How can I find out if my sanitisers and disinfectants contain QUATs?
Quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs) are a class of chemicals that have numerous names and synonyms. The good news is you can avoid using QUATS at home or at work if you know what to look for. While there are hundreds of QUATs, the most common active ingredients in QUAT sanitiser and disinfectant products include:
- Benzalkonium chloride
- Benzethonium chloride
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-16)
- Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%)
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (C12-14)
- Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-18)
- Didecyldimethylammonium chloride
- Dioctyldimethylammonium chloride
Looking for products free from QUATs? Check out the Doxall range