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Is Your Hand Sanitizer Making You Infertile?

Jeremy Hendon | July 10
hand sanitzer infertile danger

If you’re trying to have kids in the near future, a few items around your house might be making it a little bit harder for you, at least according to recent research out of Virginia.

None of this research is conclusive, but researchers have found that 2 chemicals common in household products definitely make it harder for mice to get pregnant. Here’s a link to the research:

Common household chemicals responsible for reproductive declines in mice

The researchers stumbled upon this issue while they were performing other experiments on mice. They noticed that the mice were having a harder time than usual getting pregnant.

One of the researchers observed that people handling the mice often used hand sanitizer prior to picking up the mice, and they surmised that perhaps the hand sanitizer had an effect on fertility.

After further research and experiments on the issue, it turns out that 2 chemicals (alkyl dimethyl benzalkonium chloride and didecyl dimethylammonium chloride) each made it harder for mice to reproduce. These chemicals are commonly found in hand sanitizers (usually abbreviated ADBAC and DDAC) and also in “commercial and householder cleaners, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, preservatives in makeup and other cosmetics, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets.”

As I noted above, it’s not definitive that they have the same effect on humans, but it’s not unreasonable to think they might. And because these chemicals are so widespread, any effect they have would likely be multiplied by constant and repeated exposure.

Personally, I don’t like being alarmist, and this isn’t the first health issue I’d worry about. Still, it’s one more reason that I try more and more to use only products that are made from ingredients that I feel completely comfortable eating. It sounds a bit silly, but if you don’t mind eating any of the ingredients, then the product is much less likely to have side effects that you don’t foresee.

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