Germ-killing cleaning products contain chemicals that appear to weaken fertility

Virginia Tech study finds common household chemicals affect reproduction in mice

image of cleaning
Cleaning your bathroom? Along with killing germs some products could also be doing a number on sperm production and ovulation . Common ingredients in the cleaning sprays for your kitchen and bathroom make mice less fertile, suggesting the compounds could do the same to humans.

2014 Study Abstract

Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC) are common ingredients in household bathroom and kitchen cleaning sprays. ADBAC+DDAC cause reproductive toxicity in mice. The aim of the present study was to investigate gender-specific reproductive effects from ADBAC+DDAC. Female reproduction was assessed through ovulation, oocyte implantation, and estrus cycling. Male reproductive function was assessed by sperm concentration, motility, and viability. Numbers of corpora lutea were not different after 2 weeks, but decreased after 8 weeks of ADBAC+DDAC exposure. Dams exposed for 5 weeks to ADBAC+DDAC spent significantly less time in estrus. ADBAC+DDAC exposed males exhibited declines in both sperm concentration and motility, but not sperm viability. Subfertility in mice from ADBAC+DDAC exposure is, therefore, mediated through reproductive disturbances in both females and males. While the effect of ADBAC+DDAC exposure on human health is unclear, widespread exposure necessitates further consideration of their potential reproductive toxicity.

Sources and More Information
  • Germ-killing bathroom sprays appear to weaken fertility, Environmental Health News, November 12, 2015.
  • Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Cause Subfertility in Mice by Targeting both Male and Female Reproductive Processes, sciencedirect, doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2015.10.006, 12 November 2015.
  • Virginia Tech study finds common household chemicals affect reproduction in mice, vtnews, Aug. 14, 2014

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