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Overexposure To Certain Disinfectants Triggering Asthma Attacks?

Posted by Stephen Steinberg on May 04, 2021

Overexposure To Certain Disinfectants Triggering Asthma Attacks?

Stephen Steinberg | May 4, 2021


It’s safe to say the world has entered a new normal. All public places now disinfect every single surface and every single touchpoint, not to mention additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures within your own home. Sure, this is protecting us from dangerous bacteria, viruses, fungi and other germs, but what are the downsides to being exposed to more disinfectants at much higher concentration and much higher frequency?

Well, it depends on what disinfectant you’re using.

Some Disinfectants Are Safer Than Others

All disinfectants are registered by the EPA and must list their active ingredient on the front of their label. This is the ingredient that gives it disinfecting power.

While Vapor Fresh Disinfecting Gym Wipes use an innovative citric acid chemistry to disinfect, nearly all other disinfectants use quaternary ammonium compounds — or "quats" — to disinfect. Quats have numerous health concerns, from being a known eye and skin irritator to their effects on reproductive health.  

If those aren’t scary enough, quats are also a well-documented lung irritant and can trigger asthma attacks in people prone to asthma. Even worse, quats have been known to trigger new asthma cases in people who have never had asthma before. These are definitely not chemicals you want around you while you workout - or anytime else for that matter.

There are many documented cases of rapid onset asthma, especially in healthcare workers who are exposed to disinfectants on a regular basis. In California alone, 1 in 5 new work-related asthma cases were cleaners and janitors, while the other 4 out of 5 were regularly exposed to cleaning products at their workspace.

Whether you’re an elite level athlete who needs their lungs operating as efficiently as possible, or you just want to keep your space clean without triggering asthma attacks in your friends, family and co-workers, quats are a concerning chemical you should be taking measures to avoid.

How To Identify Asthma-Causing Quats

So how can you avoid quats? Look on the front label of your disinfectants and avoid products that contain:

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

Choose Citric Acid Disinfectants Instead

Luckily, there are other disinfecting active ingredients to choose from, among them are citric acid. Citric acid is an approved active ingredient on the EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List, and is the active ingredient found in our Vapor Fresh® Disinfecting Gym Wipes as well as our Vapor Fresh® Home Gym Disinfecting Wipes.  

Thanks to our citric acid based disinfectant chemistry, our disinfecting wipes carry the lowest EPA Toxicity Rating to the point where they technically don’t even need a warning label! Yet we still disinfect 99.9% of surfaces including MRSA, HIV and H1N1, and we are still EPA List N for Coronavirus.

No more sacrificing safety for strength. Choose Vapor Fresh Disinfecting Gym Wipes for all your home gym, commercial gym and health club settings!


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