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Will Quats Be Banned Next?

At Sprout, we’ve done our own extreme vetting to ensure that the Household Cleaners and Personal Care Products we carry do not contain quats or any other harmful additives.

Quats could be the next group of chemicals to be banned from soaps and cleaners. In 2016, the FDA finally banned triclosan from hand soaps. Triclosan is a common ingredient used in disinfectants. Sprout has never carried any product with triclosan, as it is a known endocrine disruptor (a product that can mess with the body’s hormones and harm a child’s development). The FDA determined “manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections”. However, the ban only applies to hand soap—triclosan can still be found in antibacterial sprays and toothpastes.

A (little reported on) provision of this rule allowed for a one year delay on the ruling of a chemical called benzalkonium chloride, as well as two others: benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol (PCMX). Benzalkonium chloride is part of a group of chemicals called Quats (Quaternary Ammonium compounds), thought to be allergy and asthma enhancers. If the industry cannot prove that the benefits of these chemicals outweigh the risks, then antibacterial washes containing these specific chemicals will be the next to be removed from the market.

In the meantime, you should research the ingredients in your hand sanitizers and cleaning products before purchasing them. Benzalkonium chloride can even be found in some products that you may think are “organic”. Currently, this could take some work, but it will soon become easier as California forces cleaning product companies to disclose ingredients on their packaging. Read about that in our article: Clear Labels for Cleaning Products (Finally!)


Read more about quats in our article: CleanWell Founder Dr. Larry Weiss on Household Cleaners.