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Data: Fair

Benzalkonium Chloride

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

SEARCH PRODUCTS

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (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, and QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS, BENZYLCOCO ALKYLDIMETHYL, CHLORIDES

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 Reingredientive Toxicity
  • MODERATE
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

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liquid hand soap102 products
hand sanitizer46 products
bar soap30 products
body wash/cleanser15 products
moisturizer12 products
facial cleanser9 products
eye makeup remover8 products
makeup remover6 products
facial moisturizer/treatment6 products
hair treatment/serum5 products
hair styling aide5 products
daily use with SPF4 products
toners/astringents4 products
exfoliant/scrub4 products
hand cream4 products
baby wipes3 products
styling gel/lotion2 products
brow liner2 products
foundation1 products
1 products
lip balm1 products
around-eye cream1 products
baby lotion1 products
serums & essences1 products
shampoo1 products
shaving cream (men's)1 products

Allergies/immunotoxicity

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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

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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

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

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

Data gaps

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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

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

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
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

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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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.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.

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

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