Have you closely read your disinfectant labels?

In last year’s rush to disinfect, industrial and consumer shelves were often stripped bare of disinfecting products, understandably so. But as we head into another indoor season, it’s a good idea to check your disinfecting products’ chemical components – and be aware of any risks. Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones.

Ammonia

Found in many industrial-strength cleaning solutions, it may have concentrations of 25% or higher, and is corrosive. Most people are exposed to ammonia from inhalation of the gas or vapors which can immediately cause burning of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

Bleach

Also known as Sodium Hypochlorite, it’s associated with a long list of adverse health risks including cancer. The CDC recommends it should be not be used around people with asthma or allergies. When mixed with other cleaning agents, like ammonia, bleach produces chlorine gas vapors that can be deadly.

Triclosan

Antibacterial chemicals, such as triclosan, are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides. Such chemicals are readily absorbed through human skin and are linked to hormone disruption and immune system impacts. Banned by the FDA in 2016, it can still be found at facilities in older supplies.

Parabens and quaternary ammonium compounds

Commonly known as Quats or QACs, these chemical additives may pose serious short and long-term health risks, including for people with allergies, skin sensitivities and asthma. Check for ingredient names that end in “ammonium chloride”.

Why does this matter?

You want to protect the safety of both employees and your customers. Whether you’re in charge of the product purchases at your firm, or have purchasing or facilities manager who handles it, take the time to review what’s in your disinfectant and make sure you’re using ones that are safe for humans – and the environment.

The good news?

Many companies are making genuine efforts to reduce these risks and checking their products’ labels. At the same time, there’s increasing demand for ways to reduce the need for frequent disinfecting, without sacrificing outcomes.

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