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Are Quat Disinfectants Triggering Your Eczema & Skin Issues?

Posted by Stephen Steinberg on May 08, 2021

Are Quat Disinfectants Triggering Your Eczema & Skin Issues?

Stephen Steinberg | May 8, 2021


According to the National Eczema Association, one in ten Americans will develop eczema during the course of their life. If that is currently you or someone you know, you understand how uncomfortable the condition is and how frustrating it can be to treat.

Eczema is a complex disease, and if it was as easy as eliminating one key trigger from your environment to cure your eczema, it wouldn’t be such a menacing condition. However what if there’s one environmental trigger that we are all surrounded by with much more frequency and intensity these days that, if eliminated, could possibly provide you just a little bit more relief?

Quats, The Hidden Irritant

We’ve all heard the typical suggestions of chemicals to avoid if you have a skin condition - SLS, alcohol and artificial fragrances, just to name a few. But a common disinfectant found in sprays and wipes called quaternary ammonium compounds, or quats, is rarely discussed as a skin irritation trigger despite being a thoroughly well-documented skin irritant.

Quats encompass an entire class of disinfectants, but nearly all of them come with skin irritation and asthma risks, especially the more common ones such as benzalkonium chloride (bzk) and Didecyldimethylammonium chloride. The unfortunate truth is that populations with more frequent exposure to quats are affected at higher levels, such as healthcare workers.

How To Identify Quats

Quats go by many different names, but luckily all registered disinfectants and sanitizers need to disclose their active ingredient right on their label to make it easy for you to identify what’s in the product. Quats can be listed as the following, or close derivations:

Benzalkonium chloride (BZK)
Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride
N-alkyl dimethyl benzyl
N-alkyl dimethylethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
Lauryl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride

Citric Acid, The EPA Safer Chemical Ingredient Alternative To Quats

Citric acid is an approved active ingredient on the EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List and is the active ingredient used in all of our gym wipes. By utilizing citric acid as our active ingredient instead of quats, we fall within the lowest EPA toxicity category to the point where we aren’t even required to have a warning label. And even with the lower toxicity chemistry, our wipes still disinfect 99.9% of surfaces including MRSA and are on the EPA List N Disinfectants for Coronavirus.

For larger gyms and fitness centers, we have our large rolls of Vapor Fresh® Disinfecting Gym Wipes. They fit in all dispensers and are safe on all surfaces.

For smaller studios and home gyms, we have our Vapor Fresh® Home Gym Disinfecting Wipes so you don’t have to purchase more than you need but can still take advantage of all the benefits of using citric acid to disinfect your gym equipment!


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