The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) is concerned with a study by the University of California, Davis, on quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) in household disinfectant products and personal care products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates and registers household and institutional disinfectant products and these products are effective and safe for use when used according to label instructions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates personal care products.
Products containing quats include disinfectants and sanitizers that provide significant public health benefits. Quats are commonly used as active ingredients in these products and kill more than 150 kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in homes, hospitals, schools, and other institutions, preventing the spread of cold and flu viruses, Norovirus, salmonella, e. coli, Ebola, SARS, MRSA and others, that could result in serious public health issues.
Quats are well-understood, effective chemicals and many applications are registered by EPA. To register quats, EPA requires comprehensive testing to understand the toxicity, exposure and uses of the chemicals. In addition, EPA requires a regular reevaluation of ingredients to incorporate any new information for every ingredient used in a disinfectant or sanitizer, including quats. As part of the most recent reevaluation, EPA reviewed an extensive database of scientific studies and has allowed their continued use in products that clean, sanitize and disinfect homes and institutions. The numerous studies conducted and used for EPA registration do not indicate long-term health or reproductive effects.
CSPA has serious concerns with how the study is being interpreted as it relates to potential effects on people. There are a number of complex studies that do not show the effects that were observed in the cell culture study. A positive result in a cell culture study indicates the need for further study in a more complex biological system that would be more predictive of adverse outcomes in people. Numerous studies support the conclusion that these compounds are not associated with developmental or reproductive effects in people. Consumers can be confident in their continued use of these products.