Why is it Nasty?
Quats (quaternary ammonium cations) are widely used as an active ingredient in most household disinfectants but are also found in everything from shampoo to laundry softeners. The positive charge on a quat molecule is what makes it disruptive to microbes as a disinfectant, but it’s also what is irritating to skin and lungs. Research shows wide-ranging health concerns for quats, from allergies, dermatitis and asthma to reproductive toxicity.
How do I find it?
Avoid any ingredients listed as “cationic surfactants” and commonly used quats such as benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride, didecyldimethylammonium chloride, dioctyldimethylammonium chloride, distearyldimonium chloride and hydroxyethyl methylammonium methylsulfate.
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