How safe are the disinfectants that flooded the markets when Covid-19 was raging?

It needs to be understood why disinfectant chemicals containing QACs are harmful.

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was raging, the markets and homes were flooded by a slew of chemical products that promised to keep viruses at bay. The situation also saw itself developing into something so major that the chemicals that boasted antimicrobial properties had grown in number that they actually proved to be bad for the environment.

A couple of scientists, in a paper for Environmental Science & Technology, have sounded a warning against the unnecessary use of these so-called antimicrobial chemicals. They have said that these chemical formulations could be reasons for health problems, antimicrobial resistance, and environmental damage.

QAC-laden disinfectants can be harmful

The paper has also dealt in detail about how quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are being flooded in the markets, which finally find their way into people’s homes and healthcare institutions. This practice, even at a time when safer alternatives are abundantly available, could blow up into a larger problem.

It has been found that QAC-laden disinfectant wipes are being deployed by schools to clean student desks, and by hospitals and homes to disinfect tables and other surfaces. The fact is that use of disinfectants could never help in warding off harmful bacteria or viruses. Though the contrary is believed, the best way to stay healthy and safe would be to keep these harmful chemicals aside and make regular cleaning with soap and water a habit.

What makes quaternary ammonium compounds harmful is something that needs to be understood at this juncture. QACs are said to be closely linked to ailments such as asthma, dermatitis, and inflammation, the report that quoted the research paper has added.

Health issues linked to use of QACs

 It has been proved through lab tests on animals that these QACs are closely connected to problems that might lead to infertility, birth defects, and other such issues. These compounds have also been found as aiding antimicrobial resistance.

The excessive reliance on chemical disinfectants that come laded with QACs are to be given a second look before being bought and deployed in homes, hospitals, and schools.

These QACs are in modern times being excessively included in disinfectant solutions, wipes, hand sanitizers, sprays, et al, making it a tough task to keep them away or buying them. However, it would be best that such chemicals are not included in your healthcare shopping list next time you visit the super markets.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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