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The Dangers of Popular Disinfectants

With the rampant spread of virulent disease, virtually all organizations and individuals are using heightened levels of disinfectants and sanitizers, with treatments occurring continuously each day. With increased use of these chemicals, however, comes adverse health risks. Studies link the long-term use of chemicals such as bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) with serious health conditions.

BLEACH

  • Short shelf life
  • Highly corrosive to metals
  • Leaves residue on surfaces
  • Irritant to skin, eyes, nose and throat
  • Can trigger and cause asthma

Despite being a household staple, chlorine bleach is a dangerous substance. It is highly corrosive to metals including stainless steel (1), which is not ideal for kitchen equipment and electronics. When used as a cleaning agent, bleach remains on surfaces and continues to emit fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat (2), while direct contact can irritate the skin. In 2012, the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) labeled bleach an “asthmagen”, which means it can cause asthma, not just trigger an asthma attack in someone who is already asthmatic (3). Additionally, bleach is highly reactive to other chemicals and acids, and can create a toxic gas when mixed (3).

QUATS

  • Leaves residue on surfaces
  • Irritant to skin, eyes, nose and throat
  • Can trigger and cause asthma
  • Long term effects like infertility, child developmental issues and cancer

Quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as quats or QACs (4), are considered the “workhorse of modern disinfection” (5). This group of chemicals has varied germicidal activity and is generally considered to be somewhat less toxic than more traditional active ingredients like bleach. However, exposure to the residue quats leave on surfaces or in airborne particles (1) have been shown to cause asthma (6), contact dermatitis (7, 8), eye injuries and blindness (4, 9), and oral and gastrointestinal injuries (9). However, more recent studies have emerged showing that long-term exposure to quats have been linked to infertility (10), child developmental issues (11), and even cancer (12, 13).

For decades, bleach and quats have been found in almost every household kitchen and bathroom due to their easy accessibility and low price. But while they work fast and cheap, these popular disinfectants still pose serious harm to your family’s health and safety.

The Eco99 Difference

Eco99 is effective, easy to use, and safe for families, pets, and the environment. It offers many benefits over other commonly used sanitizing agents. 

QUATS BLEACH ECO 99
Surface Disinfection x x x
Odorless x x
Eco-Friendly x
Non-staining x x
Non-corrosive x x
Residue-free x
Non-carcinogenic x x

Eco99 is EPA registered to sanitize, disinfect, and deodorize all surfaces such as wood, metal, plastic, tile, and food surfaces. Our non-corrosive formula does not leave behind any hazardous residues, vapors or byproducts, which means no wiping or rinsing required after use. Best of all, Eco99 is safe and non-toxic, and can be sprayed without the need of special equipment like masks or gloves.

Gallia Country Health Department (2011). Choosing the proper sanitizer and disinfectant. Accessed Oct. 2020 at: http://www.galliacohealth.org/document_center/Food%20Info/ChoosingTheProperSanitizer2011.pdf 

Missouri Poison Center (2019). Bleach. Accessed Oct. 2020 at: https://missouripoisoncenter.org/household-bleach/

California Department of Pesticide Regulation. 2015. Whst’s the problem with bleach? Accessed Oct. 2020 at: https://wspehsu.ucsf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/FactSheet_Bleach.pdf

Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health. 2015. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds in Cleaning Products: Health & Safety Information for Cleaners and Supervisors. Accessed Jun. 2020 at: https://med.nyu.edu/pophealth/sites/default/files/pophealth/QACs%20Info%20for%20Workers_18.pdf

Lim, X. (2020). Do we know enough about the safety of quat disinfectants? Accessed Sept. 2020 at: https://cen.acs.org/safety/consumer-safety/know-enough-safety-quat-disinfectants/98/i30

Rosenman, K. 2008. Disinfectants and Asthma. Project SENSOR. Accessed Jun. 2020 at: http://www.oem.msu.edu/userfiles/file/News/v20n1.pdf

Warshaw, EM, et al. 2007. Contact dermatitis of the hands: cross-sectional analyses of North American Contact Dermatitis Group Data, 1994-2004. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 57(2): p. 301-314.

Perrenoud, D, et al. 1994. Frequency of sensitization to 13 common preservatives in Switzerland. Contact Dermatitis. 30(5): p. 276-9.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2006. Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride (ADBAC) accessed Jun. 2020 at: http://archive.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/web/pdf/adbac_red.pdf

Melin, V., et al. 2016. Quaternary ammonium disinfectants cause subfertility in mice by targeting both male and female reproductive processes. Reproductive Toxicology. 59: p. 159-166 accessed Jun. 2020 at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623815300319

Hrubec, T.C. 2017. Ambient and Dosed Exposure to Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Causes Neural Tube Defects in Rodents. Birth Defects Research. 109(14) accessed Jun. 2020 at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bdr2.1064

California Department of Pesticide Regulation. 2015. Choosing safer products to clean and sanitize your home. Accessed Jul. 2020 at: https://wspehsu.ucsf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/FactSheet_SaferProdHome.pdf

University of California San Francisco School of Nursing’s Institute for Health & Aging. 2013. Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Toolkit for Early Care and Education. Accessed Jun. 2020 at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/ece_curriculumfinal.pdf

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