Sunday, 1 January 2012

alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride

No, the title of this blog is not in a foreign language for Happy New Year, but I wish one to all my friends, family and blog readers who I haven’t met yet.  And I wish you one without the above chemicals in your life.

I thought supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with its 34 letters and my spinalspondylitisankylosingspondylosis with its 38 letters were long, but so is alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride with its 34 letters which refers to chemical compounds.  I’m writing this article because they’re negatively affecting our food, health and environment.

I came across alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride when I was reading about a product called Suma Bac D10 that all of a sudden seems to have become very popular.  I have seen it being used in restaurants where people dine, in supermarkets (while I was buying my organic food in Waitrose, a germicide was sprayed right under my nose at the checkout), in hospitals, and in care homes.

What is alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride?
Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) is also known as benzalkonium chloride with 24 compounds that are structurally similar to Quaternary ammonium compounds.  It can be used as a biocide, a cationic surfactant and phase transfer agent in the chemical industry.

A biocide can be:

Biocides are purportedly used on harmful organisms, but in reality, they can and often do indiscriminately harm any organism.
It you eat conventionally grown foods, it is possible that you will have more than one source of exposure to ADBAC.

Because the odour is barely noticeable, it has only a feint almond-like smell in concentrated form, it is easy to see why one would not immediately be aware of the danger it poses.

The applications are wide ranging, from disinfectant formulations, such as being an active ingredient in D10 (and Dettol and Lysol brand products), to microbial corrosion inhibition in the oilfield sector, and a multi-surface mould, algae and moss remover.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much information about exactly what effect ADBAC has on our health.  We know it kills fish, but not whether it causes cancer in humans.  We also don’t know (or at least it’s not documented) whether or not it’s a hormone disrupter or interferes with reproduction.  Regardless, it is widely used.

Besides being used for cleaning and microbial control in the oil industry, ADBAC is used for wood treatment, carpets, textiles, hard surfaces, agricultural premises and equipment, aquatic areas, food handling/storage, industrial processes and water systems. ADBAC is also applied to nursery ornamentals and turf, and is used for mosquito control in ponds and puddles.  Based on this information, ADBAC is present without your knowledge in a lot of circumstances.

Believe it or not, it is also used in:

·         Pharmaceuticals such as leave-on skin antiseptics
·         Antiseptic in Bactine to treat childhood scrapes and cuts.
·         Hand sanitizers
·         Towelettes and wet wipes
·         Cosmetics such as eye and nasal drops, as a preservative!
·         High-level surgical instrument sterilizing and disinfection solutions
·         Air disinfectants!
·         Over-the-counter herpes cold sore and fever blister single-application treatments such as RELEEV and Viroxyn
·         Algaecide


D10, a short snappy innocuous name for a product whose main ingredient is such a long-named chemical compound with dangerous potential.

I have seen people without gloves, spray this, wipe it up with either a dry or wet cloth/paper towel and then continue on as if everything was fine.  Far from it.

The Safety Data Sheet for D10 under section 8 Exposure Control/ Person Protection, which perhaps few employees have time to read, states that in order to protect hands: “use gloves resistant to alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride.”  I take this as a good indication that the product can and will harm us.

On the label on the bottle, which is available online here, the directions for use are as follows:

Spray cleaning and disinfection:
1. Use at a concentration of 1 dosage in a 750 ml spray bottle
2. Remove gross soiling
3. Spray onto surfaces
4. Leave for at least 30 seconds
5. Rinse food contact surfaces thoroughly with clean water and allow to air dry

First of all, someone has to make-up these spray bottles and expose themselves to this hazard in concentrated form.

Secondly, it advises the user to “Rinse food contact surfaces thoroughly with clean water and allow to air dry.”  I have never seen this done and think it is unlikely it is done much, if at all.  So if you consider a restaurant kitchen spraying D10 on the work surface, then wiping it up with a damp cloth and then setting the food for your meal on it to be prepared (such as making a burger), it is likely that this chemical is getting in your food.  If you eat out regularly, or even buy a prepared sandwich for lunch, it is likely that you will be getting a regular supply of this chemical.

For those who work in places where this chemical is sprayed and used like water, especially in small areas with poor ventilation, you are likely to be getting a good dose in your body from the vapours, absorption through your skin and your eyes.

TOXICOLOGICAL INFORMATION from The Safety Data Sheet
Eyes : Strong irritant with the danger of severe eye injury.
Skin : Irritant
Inhalation : Irritant
Ingestion : Irritant                      

At the very least, it is clearly irritating, in more ways than one.  The most irritating thing to me is that people don’t take it seriously.

ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION from The Safety Data Sheet
Very toxic to aquatic organisms.  The manufacturer lets us know that the undiluted product is hazardous waste, but what about the cumulative effect of using it diluted every day all over the world.  By the way, aquatic organisms are big and small.  Furthermore, I figure that something that kills fish could kill me because I am mostly water and have many aquatic-like organisms living inside me that keep me alive.  Of course, I’m talking about the help from all the bacteria, fungi and other such creatures.

Suitable gloves

As I’ve already mentioned, the person using D10 is supposed to wear gloves resistant to alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride.  This is a bad joke really.  Never mind do most people not wear gloves (especially younger people who think they’re invincible, especially to anything invisible), but when was the last time you saw a package of rubber gloves that said they were resistant to alkyldimethylbenzlammoniumchloride?  I’ve yet to notice this, but I’ll let you know if I find a pair and where to get them.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive advises that employees must be trained when and how to use and replace such protection.  From my experience, this training is totally inadequate if not non-existent.

Diversy
for a cleaner healthier future

The company that produces D10 is now called Diversy.  The parent company is Diversy, Inc with its headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin.  Before March 2010, it was known as JohnsonDiversey, Inc., and was created by Johnson Wax Professional's acquisition of the DiverseyLever company in May, 2002.

Purportedly 10,000 persons or so are contributing to the manufacture and distribution of its products.  The corporation in turn is making lots of money with sales of $3.1 billion in 2010.

Edward F. Lonergan (51) is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Diversy, Inc and his total calculated compensation for 2010 was $18,296,853.  That’s over 18 million dollars in one year for big number-shy people like me!  Follow the link on his name for more companies he’s put his fingers into, like the man with the Midas touch (everything he touches turns to gold for him and chemicals for us).  The rest of the Investors Management Team would also make lots of money and I noticed that one fourth of them previously worked for Unilever, a big B’org of Food.

In further B’org of Food-like shenanigans, Sealed Air acquired Diversey Holdings Inc. along with Sturtevant commercial cleaning products in a 2011 deal valued at $4.3 billion.  Sealed Air specialises in packaging and hence the name makes sense, but it is a scary name when you think that in the future air may be sold like water is today, in plastic containers.

Diversey develops and markets cleaning and hygiene solutions and services that are used in lots of places all over the world in retail, food & beverage, food service, healthcare, lodging, building service contractors, commercial laundry, government, education, manufacturing, janitorial distributors and cash & carry.

I’m not so sure about the ‘cleaner’ in Diversy’s motto, after all, how clean is a surface that is full of chemicals.  But it certainly is not healthier.

Our mission: Transform our industry, preserve lives, protect the environment.

They’ve got a long way to go with their mission with products like D10. For example, how can a product that kills the environment, protect it? The environment includes the living organisms that comprise it. Without the living organisms, we would live in a barren world like the moon or Mars! But D10 and other products this company produces are designed to kill living organisms, indiscriminately. They don’t even know half of them, never mind whether they are harmful or not to humans. They know of a few harmful ones and so use this as an excuse to kill them all.

You won’t get much information off the company’s website, but it does say that they are in 175 countries.  With the cummulative effect of so much D10 being used around the world, it seems to me that aquatic life hardly stands a chance.

I was recently asked why this product would be provided by the employer with little warning about using it if it was so dangerous.  With so much money at stake and available for lobbying and other political tactics, how could poor people with little political clout be protected?  How would you protect your $18mil job?  With delusions perhaps?

Well, if you’re making minimum wage or near enough, it doesn’t follow that you need to sacrifice your health as well as income prospects just so a few top executives can be millionaires and billionaires.  They may be delusional and think that this product is good for life, but we need to have common sense and acknowledge the facts.  If your nose turns red after breathing in the spray, you cough and sputter, your eyes become dry, puffy and bloodshot, your stomach cramps up and/or your hands start to crack and chap after handling it, this is proof enough that it is irritating your health.  In the long-term, irritating your health leads to diseases such as cancer, heart problems and dementia.

It’s time for us to stop being so trusting and take matters into our own hands, hands that aren’t being poisoned by chemicals.  Stand up for your rights.  Don’t use D10 or support the use of such chemicals with your daily life choices.  Nobody can make you do it.