Household chemicals may cause birth defects


New research finds, two chemical compounds in household cleaning and personal hygiene products cause birth defects in rodents.

household chemicals

Terry Hrubec from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and colleagues investigated the effect of a large class of common household chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds (quats).

The chemicals regularly used in disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eyedrops.

Researchers looked at the two quats, alkyldimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyldimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). These two quats used in combination in common cleaning products.

For the experiment, the researchers introduced the substances in the vivarium of both mice and rats. Male and female mice received ADBAC plus DDAC combined, in the form of a commercial disinfectant.

birth defects

The study found that neural tube defects (NTDs) increased proportionally with the ambient exposure to the chemicals. NTDs are birth defects that take place in the first month of pregnancy, affecting the brain, spine, or spinal cord of the fetus.

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Significantly, the male rodents exposing to the chemical-laden atmosphere in the room alone was enough to cause reproductive defects. In fact, ambient exposure to the chemical had a larger influence on NTDs than oral dosing.

Birth defects seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as only one parent was exposed, said, Hrubec.

We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure.

An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up study indeed confirmed that quats led to a decline in sperm counts in males and ovulation in female rodents.

These chemicals regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools.

Research suggests that humans who are routinely exposed to these chemicals have trouble getting pregnant or are more likely to have children with birth defects.

More information: [Birth Defects Research]