When it comes to keeping our household healthy, many of us adhere to age-old traditions of keeping a home that is neat, but more importantly, has been deeply-cleansed. In order to keep on top of this sanitized routine, many of us have hoards of disinfectant wipes which we use to retouch surfaces whenever needed.
While many of us don’t think twice about grabbing a disinfectant as a means of combating household germs, experts actually are warning consumers about the overuse of these items – particularly around children.
Consumer Reports released a warning regarding disinfecting wipes as there is a report that many of these chemicals used in disinfectant wipes are actually registered pesticides – something that pose a danger to young children.
As Consumer Reports reveals, in order to meet the label of disinfectant, the product in question must contain “active ingredients [that] kill specific bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause dangerous blood, lung, bone, and heart valve infections) on surfaces.” And prior to being able to peddle the products as a disinfectant, manufacturers have to be able to prove this particular claim.
Commonly found ingredients in these wipes are bleach and hydrogen peroxide, which don’t provide a major hazard to kids, but there are other chemical compounds called quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), which do pose a huge problem. These compounds combine ammonia with other chemicals in order for them to be rendered into liquids and gels. A popular QAC that is often found in many disinfectant wipes is called alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides.
What people aren’t aware of is that these QAC compounds are listed on the Environmental Protection Agency as registered pesticides. By law, these pesticides must have a warning label that warns “keep out of the reach of children,” since they can cause eye, skin, or upper respiratory problems. According to the New York University School of Medicine, the bleach and QACs that are found in these wipes have been linked to possible asthma.
Given this finding, health experts are concerned about the frequent use of disinfectant wipes in schools and homes. Each year, teachers purchase tons of disinfectant wipes in order to combat classroom germs. While the intentions behind these purchases are good, the potential risks involved aren’t always clear-cut.
As Dawn Gouge, a public health entomologist working for the University of Arizona, said to Consumer Reports, “They’re marketed to schools. They’re marketed to teachers.”
And the evidence of these marketing schemes is clear as well – such as these tweets from Clorox. Clorox was responsible for helping to clean a school using their products.
This Back-to-School season, we traveled to Webbers Falls, OK public schools to help them clean up their buses and facilities with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes after they faced major flooding in July. Now, students will be able to thrive in clean spaces all school year long. 💡🚍 pic.twitter.com/JTTTYg9eoI
— Clorox (@Clorox) August 27, 2019
A pediatrician and George Washington University Professor Dr. Jerome Paulson, said to Consumer Reports, “Kids breathe more air per pound of body weight than an adult does.”
That means that a kid’s exposure to the same amount of chemicals from the same product will actually be higher than that of an adult.
In light of this, many parents and teachers may be wondering, “how can you not only kill germs but also protect kids from harmful substances?? Well, experts are proponents of using more basic-but-effective cleaning products like soap and water – especially if you are conducting regular cleanings. If you’re concerned, you can take a look at the long list of cleaning products that the EPA has on their website as “Safer Choices.”