Using household chemicals can lead to birth defects

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

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26 July 2017, 09:00

Specialists of the Osteopathic Medical School Edward Via, together with representatives of the Polytechnic University of Virginia came to an unpleasant conclusion.

They found out that quaternary ammonium compounds present in various quantities in household chemical agents can provoke the development of birth defects.

Experiments on rodents have already been carried out: unfortunately, the information was confirmed.

Such substances act as preserving or disinfecting additives. They can be present in detergents, shampoos, styling products and even in ophthalmic preparations. In small quantities, substances are considered harmless.

Scientists paid special attention to such compounds as benzalkonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. Such substances are more often than others in the composition of most of the means used in everyday life. They usually act as a disinfectant and antistatic agent.

It was found that the effect of the listed substances on the pregnant female rodents was extremely negative: in the future, the offspring with anomalies of the neural tube appeared. Such violations can be compared with inadequate development, or the absence of large cerebral hemispheres in humans.

"The use of quaternary ammonium compounds in relation to rodents led to terrible abnormalities of development in the newborn offspring. Particularly depressing is that such substances proved to be dangerous for both females and males, "explained the doctor of anatomy Terri Khrubek, an employee of the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences and Pathological Biology.

The researchers also noted that in order to demonstrate the dangerous ability of ammonium compounds, there is no need to use large doses of these substances. Teratogenic effect was manifested even when the cells with rodents were simply cleaned with the help of the listed chemicals.

However, the most negative information was expected by scientists ahead. It turned out that the risk of anomalies was present even in the subsequent generation of rodents: thus, already two generations were threatened.

Previously, the same scientists have found that ammonium-based cleaners lead to a decrease in reproductive function, reduce the number of sperm in the semen, and also block the onset of ovulation in rodents. By the way, all the listed consequences are the most frequent fixed causes of infertility, typical for people. Coincidence? Hardly.

"We are often asked such a question: is it possible to think that the results obtained from rodents will be suitable for a person? We answer unequivocally: yes. The substances we investigate disturb the course of the processes that exist in the mechanism of embryo development in all mammals. Among scientists, rodents are considered a prototype of the human body, "the doctor explains.

These ammonium compounds have been used in the chemical industry since the fifties of the last century. At that time there was no question of carrying out toxicological studies. Now such studies are initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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