A new study conducted at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Virginia, US, suggests that chemicals commonly used in disinfectants, sanitizers, detergents and shampoos could be toxic and ultimately lead to birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida. The study was conducted on rats and mice, two very common subjects when it comes to testing chemicals and drugs made for human consumption.
The problem has been attributed to chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds or “Quats”. These chemicals are known for their sterilizing and disinfecting qualities and are often used in household cleaning agents. The two suspect chemicals are alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These chemicals are often listed as ADBAC and DDAC in the ingredients list of products.
Professor Terry Hrubec who was part of this study says, “Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed.” The rodents were not injected with the chemicals directly rather were kept in cages treated with disinfectants containing these chemicals. The birth defects kept showing up for two generations even after exposure to the chemicals were stopped. The study aims to find if the chemicals are toxic for humans as well.