Toxic Chemical Glossary:
Are Disinfectant Wipes Safe? What You Need to Know.
Disinfectant and antibacterial cleaning wipes have always been popular but have recently risen in popularity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and monkeypox outbreak, so much so that there was a shortage nationwide. However convenient these cleaning products may be, there are several important factors to consider before you make your next purchase.
Most disinfecting wipes contain bleach or chemicals called Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or Quats for short. Quats are antimicrobial chemicals that kill germs, but also present health risks like asthma and asthma attacks, allergic reactions, hormone-disruption and general skin and eye irritation.
Bleach, while effective at killing germs – can trigger asthma and allergies in people who have never had them before, as well as trigger dangerous symptoms in people who already have them. There’s a reason why using bleach comes with so many warnings: wear gloves, use only in well-ventilated areas, wash your hands and rinse after usage. Bleach can irritate your skin and airways. And if you have sensitive skin, disinfecting wipes can also lead to contact dermatitis.
Not Safe Around People With Asthma or Allergies
Another watch out: in the US, about 40% of children and 30% of adults suffer from allergies or asthma. The 3 most common ingredients in disinfectant wipes can be so dangerous to this population that the CDC recommends not using cleaning products with quats, bleach, or fragrances around them. Given that the vast majority of disinfectant wipes contain these ingredients, it’s best to avoid using them around anyone with allergies or asthma. In fact, allergies and asthma are included under the ADA as requiring accommodations for people who suffer from these conditions. One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect people who suffer from allergies and asthma is to eliminate the use of disinfectant wipes containing bleach, quats and fragrances.
Not Safe Around Children & Animals
Most conventional disinfecting wipes contain bleach or quats to kill germs and fragrances to cover up the pungent chemical smell. Research shows that chronic exposure to these ingredients can be as damaging to our lungs over time as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. This research was done on adults – imagine the health risk to children who are disproportionately at risk due to their small size and rapidly developing bodies! Infants and children are more susceptible to these health risks, so it’s dangerous to use disinfectant wipes on children’s toys and anything else they come into contact with. It’s common to see disinfectant wipes in classrooms, indoor play spaces, libraries and just about anywhere you see children, but in all likelihood these wipes contain toxic ingredients that put children’s health at risk. Cleaning products have been linked to the increase in cases of pediatric allergies and asthma, possibly increasing the risk of developing these conditions by almost 50%.
And what about animals? If animals lick the surfaces that disinfecting wipes have been in contact with, they may throw up or have diarrhea.
Harsh on Surfaces
Most disinfecting wipes are only meant for non-porous surfaces, so using them on unsealed surfaces like unpainted wood or fabric could mean ruining your valuable furniture.For wipes containing bleach, bleach can etch surfaces like marble and other natural stones. Many disinfectant wipes can dry out surfaces over time because they contain alcohol, and alcohol on leather can lead to damage, discoloration, and drying.
Not Environmentally Friendly
Disinfecting wipes are made from synthetic materials, so you can’t recycle or compost them. Ever heard of a fatberg? Because wipes often contain plastic and are not biodegradable, when they’re in the sewer system, they bunch together and trap waste to form giant blockages and “fatbergs” — clumps made of fat from food waste and wipes. Wipes can stay for up to 100 years in the environment, where they can fragment and produce micro- and nanoplastics. The pandemic’s surge in wipes has increased the amount of waste in landfills and burned in incinerators. Several studies have shown that landfill leachates and incinerated particles can release large amounts of microplastics into the environment.
A Better Alternative to Wipes
We’re proud to offer a planet-friendly, people-friendly solution to toxic wipes with our revolutionary cleaning system, Force of Nature, which is on the EPA’s list N, the disinfectants approved for use against Covid-19 and also on the EPA’s list Q, the disinfectants approved for use against monkeypox virus. It contains no bleach, quats or fragrances, is gentle enough to use around people with asthma and allergies, and eliminates single-use plastic bottles.
Our convenient, on-demand system and subscription capsule refills allow you to take advantage of our low-cost, high-impact 3-in-1 cleaner, sanitizer, and disinfectant without the need to take up valuable space at your business to stockpile products. We have 2 size options to meet the needs of smaller and larger spaces: our original 12 ounce Force of Nature, and our new large-capacity, commercial-grade Force of Nature Pro that makes 32 or 64 oz. Purchasing for a large business or organization? We can customize pricing, assortment and training for you! Click here to get started.