Certain types of disinfectants are not said to be without health risks, several scientists: warning as part of a new study.
The health crisis has radically changed our relationship with health, viruses, and bacteria. We remember it well: the successive lockdowns triggered a run on masks and hygiene products. Today, many restaurants have a bottle of hydroalcoholic gel next to the front door, and cleansing wipes have also become popular. Scientists, however, explain that these are often not used correctly and that some of the substances they contain can lead to health problems.
Dangerous chemical compounds
The substances the new study points to are quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). They’re not new: They’re found in fabric softeners (which often come with a specific yuck factor), laundry detergents, and especially disinfectants, among others, and have been for decades.
But with the health crisis, their use has skyrocketed, and some products, such as cleaning wipes and hand cleansing gels, have grown tremendously. However, these products are not said to be completely healthy. A researcher involved in a new study published by ACS Publications that looks at the effects of QACs explains:
Disinfectant wipes containing QACs are commonly used on children’s desks at school, exam tables in hospitals, and at home, where they remain on these surfaces and in the air. (…) Our scientific analysis suggests disinfection with these chemicals is often unnecessary or harmful.
Quaternary ammonium compounds and asthma
Scientists say several studies support a link between the use of QACs and cases of asthma, dermatitis, and inflammation, as reported by phys.org. Animal studies also suggest that QACs may increase the risk of infertility and contribute to antimicrobial resistance (a phenomenon that reduces the effectiveness of treatments against diseases).
So how can you clean your house without exposing yourself to new diseases? The scientists simply recommend not using them unless necessary, replacing products containing QACs with water and soap.
Dramatically reducing the number of QAC applications will not lead to the spread of Covid-19 but will make our homes, classrooms, offices, and other shared spaces healthier.
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