Safety

Do Quats Get Absorbed?

…Systemic exposure to BAC in antimicrobial soap is very low and below the level of concern identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (500 ng/L) even under maximal use conditions.

Human Health Impact Study

  • “Quaternary ammonium compounds (Quats) are a large class of … chemicals that are used in a variety of consumer and industrial products for their antimicrobial properties.”
  • “[Quats] are poorly absorbed via the oral and dermal exposure routes, are not systemically distributed....”
  • “European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) concluded that oral and dermal absorption … is limited, and does not exceed 10%.”
  • “..Collectively, available guideline studies indicate that [Quats] are not specific or primary reproductive or developmental toxicants, which is consistent with the conclusions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2006a,b) and ECHA (2015a,b).”
  • “EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee classified [Quats] as 'not likely to be carcinogenic to humans' and 'Group E – evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans,' respectively (EPA 2018).”
  • “[Biocidal Quats] are not dermal sensitizers, are not specific developmental or reproductive toxicants, are not carcinogenic or genotoxic, and do not cause systemic toxicity.”
  • “When conducting their risk assessments for [biocidal quats], EPA (2006a,b) determined that a FQPA [Food Quality Protection Act of 1996] Safety Factor was not needed to protect sensitive human subpopulations (i.e., infants and children) from exposure ….”
  • “The EPA’s Hazard and Science Policy Council (HASPOC) reviewed the toxicology database [biocidal quats] and waived the requirements for immunotoxicity and acute and subchronic neurotoxicity testing based on the weight of evidence that strongly suggests that these studies would not result in a lower point of departure for use in risk assessment (EPA 2016a,b).”

Luz, A et al. Human health hazard assessment of quaternary ammonium compounds: Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride and alkyl (C12–C16) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Oct, 2020.