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Did you know, using everyday essentials, such as shampoo and washing powder, can be toxic for humans. According to a study, it may decrease the sperm count in males and ovulation in females.

The findings indicated that a common ingredient of household products, known as quaternary ammonium compounds or ‘quats’, is thought to cause the harmful effects, contributing to human infertility. Quats are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and defect in the animals’ neural tube, a hollow structure from which the spine and brain form.

‘These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,’ said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Virginia. The researchers investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride and Didecyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride.

They are valued for their antimicrobial properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. The found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects, the same birth defect that causes spina bifida and anencephaly — a severe congenital condition — in humans. Spina bifida is when a baby’s spine and cord do not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.

Anencephaly is the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull and scalp that occurs during a baby’s development. Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed, stated Hrubec.

The researchers found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects.

An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females.


Source: The Tribune

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