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High health hazard. Benzalkonium chloride is classified as a skin, eye and lung irritant and is very toxic to aquatic life.
Benzalkonium Chloride is a chemical used for its antibacterial properties in many household cleaners and cosmetic productsii. It can it cause eye and skin irritation, and is also highly toxic to aquatic organismsiv, a cause for concern considering it is often washed down drains. The use of Benzalkonium chloride and other household antibacterial agents can pose a problem of bacterial resistance, which can affect the monitoring of infectious diseasesv- i.e. making sure that the most dangerous bacteria (that cause infectious diseases) do not build up bacterial resistance. There is also concern that the overuse use of antibacterial ingredients in consumer products can prevent the immune system from developing natural immunity to pathogens. An Immune system needs to be in contact with pathogens to be able to get stronger and gain immunity, if we continue to protect ourselves from bacteria that are normally not harmful; this can weaken our ability to naturally protect ourselves further down the track.
ii) Strong irritants masquerading as skin allergens: the case of benzalkonium chloride
iv) MSDS-Benzalkonium Chloride - EMD Millipore Corp
v) Evaluation and modelling of benzalkonium chloride inhibition and biodegradation in activated sludge
|INCI Name||Benzalkonium Chloride|
Learn more on the EWG website