« DNA-based Sunscreen? | Main | FTC Finalizes Crackdown on Four Companies Making False All-Natural Claims »

Shampoo Chemicals Linked to Birth Defects 

Quaternary ammonium compounds are a class of chemicals commonly used in shampoos, conditioners, disinfectants, and almost every kind of cosmetic item on the market. "Quats" for short, have anti-static, disinfectant, preservative, and conditioning properties. A recent study has found that two common quats, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (aka benzalkonium chloride) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (aka quaternium-12) used in combination caused birth defects in animal studies. 

Researchers found increased neural tube defects (birth defects that affect the brain and spine) with exposure to both chemicals in both rats and mice. The defects persisted for two generations after stopping of exposure. Notably, male exposure alone was sufficient to cause the defects, and equally significant, ambient exposure from disinfectant use influenced the levels of defects to a greater extent than oral dosing. Source

Previous studies have found the same to quats to decrease fertility in both sexes of mice, even when just used to clean their cages. 

While there are numerous quats used widely in consumer products, most have not been tested for reproductive effects.

Some research suggests that quats also can form carcinogenic nitrosamines in products. (Source)

For more info on quats and how to spot them, visit this page


References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>