QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS (QUATS)
Found in: bathroom cleaning products, all-purpose cleaners, fabric softeners, and degreasers.
Health Risks: Irritants and sensitizers that can induce an allergic response following contact with the skin. Quats are also known to cause occupational asthma in cleaning workers and preliminary evidence indicates they may cause adverse genetic and reproductive effects. Chemicals in this class are persistent in the environment and toxic to aquatic organisms. Like triclosan, quats are anti-microbial agents and there is concern that their widespread use in household disinfectants and cosmetics is contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections.