Unacceptable: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient.

Moderate Concern
Skin Allergies &
No Data, Some Concern
Developmental &
Reproductive Toxicity
Some Concern
No Data, Some Concern
No Data, Some Concern
Top scoring factors: Evidence of respiratory effects; general systemic/organ effects; developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects
Alkyl Dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-16) can be found in 152 products.


Health issue
Level of Concern
EPA's review of industry submitted toxicity data and the potential for human exposure concludes that this substance poses a high risk for human health.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): EPA Hazard-Based Prioritizations - Risks
Asthmagen (sensitizing)
Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC): AOEC Exposure Code List (2020 Update)
A peer-reviewed publication reports some quaternary ammonium compounds cause reproductive toxicity in animals.
Vanessa E. Melin, Travis E. Melin, Brian J. Dessify, Christina T. Nguyen, Caroline S. Shea & Terry C. Hrubec. 2015. Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Cause Subfertility in Mice by Targeting both Male and Female Reproductive Processes. Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.).
A peer-reviewed publication reports some quaternary ammonium compounds cause reproductive toxicity in animals.
Vanessa E. Melin, Haritha Potineni, Patricia Hunt, Jodi Griswold, Bill Siems, Stephen R. Werre & Terry C. Hrubec. 2014. Exposure to common quaternary ammonium disinfectants decreases fertility in mice. Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.) 50, 163-70.
Quaternary ammonium compounds detected in human blood was associated with increased inflammation, decreased mitochondrial function and disruption of cholesterol.
Terry C. Hrubec, Ryan P. Seguin, Libin Xu, Gino A. Cortopassi, Sandipan Datta, Alexandra L. Hanlon, Alicia J. Lozano, Valerie A. McDonald, Claire A. Healy, Tyler C. Anderson, Najaha A. Musse & Richard T. Williams. 2021. Altered toxicological endpoints in humans from common quaternary ammonium compound disinfectant exposure. Toxicology reports 8, 646-656.
This substance impacted cholesterol biosynthesis.
Josi Herron, Rosalyn C. Reese, Keri A. Tallman, Rohini Narayanaswamy, Ned A. Porter & Libin Xu. 2016. Identification of Environmental Quaternary Ammonium Compounds as Direct Inhibitors of Cholesterol Biosynthesis. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology 151(2), 261-70.
Quaternary ammonium compounds altered neurodevelopment in cells.
Josi M. Herron, Hideaki Tomita, Collin C. White, Terrance J. Kavanagh & Libin Xu. 2021. Benzalkonium Chloride Disinfectants Induce Apoptosis, Inhibit Proliferation, and Activate the Integrated Stress Response in a 3-D in Vitro Model of Neurodevelopment. Chemical research in toxicology 34(5), 1265-1274.
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EWG provides information on cleaning product ingredients from the published scientific... continue reading →
EWG provides information on cleaning product ingredients from published scientific literature, to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government. The ratings indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product - not the product itself - compared to other product formulations. The ratings reflect potential health hazards but do not account for the level of exposure or individual susceptibility, factors that determine actual health risks, if any. (Hide)
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