Benzalkonium Chloride is a chemical used for its antibacterial properties in many household cleaners and cosmetic productsii. It can it cause eye and skin irritation, and is also highly toxic to aquatic organismsiv, a cause for concern considering it is often washed down drains. Like similar antibacterial-type ingredients, there is concern about the development of resistance in bacteria to antimicrobials, which can affect the monitoring of infectious diseasesv. There is also concern that the overuse use of antibacterial ingredients in consumer products can prevent the immune system from developing natural immunity to pathogens. An immune system needs to be in contact with pathogens to be able to get stronger and gain immunity; if we continue to protect ourselves from bacteria that are normally not harmful, this might weaken our ability to naturally protect ourselves further down the track.
ii) Strong irritants masquerading as skin allergens: the case of benzalkonium chloride
iv) MSDS-Benzalkonium Chloride - EMD Millipore Corp
v) Evaluation and modelling of benzalkonium chloride inhibition and biodegradation in activated sludge