Find products and ingredients Learn how Skin Deep® works Meet our experts Discover EWG VERIFIED®

Data: Fair

Benzalkonium Chloride

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

SEARCH PRODUCTS

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (moderate), Neurotoxicity (low), Endocrine disruption (low), and Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (moderate)

SYNONYMS

● ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE
● BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE
● BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE SOLUTION
● BENZYLCHLORIDE QUATERNARY SALT OF N,N'-DIMETHYLCOCOAMINE; N-COCO-N,N-DIMETHYLBENZENEMETHANAMINIUM CHLORIDE
● QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS, BENZYLCOCO ALKYLDIMETHYL, CHLORIDES

Unacceptable

Unacceptable: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient


Biocide, preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies, benzalkonium chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema. Benzalkonium chloride is found in many household disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Regular use of products containing antimicrobials such as benzalkonium chloride could leads to the development of resistant bacteria in homes and food processing facilities.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • LOW
    Cancer
  • HIGH
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • LOW
    Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity
  • MODERATE
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
liquid hand soap79 products
hand sanitizer48 products
body wash/cleanser17 products
facial cleanser12 products
hair styling aide12 products
body cleansing wipes11 products
bar soap10 products
moisturizer10 products
brow liner8 products
exfoliant/scrub7 products
eye makeup remover6 products
hair treatment/serum6 products
hand cream6 products
makeup remover5 products
facial moisturizer/treatment4 products
shampoo3 products
styling gel/lotion3 products
baby lotion3 products
conditioner3 products
body powder2 products
baby wipes2 products
damaged skin treatment2 products
toners/astringents2 products
2 products
antiperspirant/deodorant1 products
shaving cream (men's)1 products
makeup removing wipes1 products
serums & essences1 products
anti-aging1 products
sunless tanning1 products
after shave1 products
hair spray1 products
daily use with SPF1 products
facial powder1 products

Allergies/immunotoxicity

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human any toxicant or allergenOpen scientific literature
Human immune and respiratory toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceAssociation of Occupational and Environmental Clinics
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Limited evidence of immune system toxicity or allergiesNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Use restrictions

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Use is restricted in Canadian cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Japan - restricted for use in some types of cosmetics (concentration limit)Japan's Standards for Cosmetics
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualificationsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Possible human any toxicantOpen scientific literature
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as a low human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Neurotoxicity

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells demonstrate neurotoxicityOpen scientific literature

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
One or more animal studies show any effects at moderate dosesOpen scientific literature

Endocrine disruption

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Associated with endocrine disruptionOpen scientific literature

Data gaps

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
2541 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Ecotoxicology

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be persistentEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • AOEC (Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics). 2009. AEOC exposures codes and asthmagen designation.
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
  • Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
  • Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 2006. Standards for Cosmetics. Evaluation and Licensing Division. Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED® mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

Can’t find your product?

Enter the ingredients in EWG’s Build Your Own Report tool to get an approximate score for that product.

BUILD YOUR OWN REPORT
Skindeep Healthy Living App

EWG research
on the go

Find personal care, cleaning, and food products on the EWG Healthy Living app.

DOWNLOAD THE APP