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The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), in partnership with the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), announced a new webpage they have launched that is geared towards better understanding common disinfectant ingredients known as quaternary ammonium compounds, also referred to as QACs or quats. 

Quats are a group of chemicals that are often found as the active ingredients in many common disinfectants and sanitizers. They are highly effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. When properly used according to their labels, disinfectants using quats greatly help stop the spread or growth of harmful pathogens.

In the United States, use of quats in commercial disinfectant sprays and wipes is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In order for a product to claim the status of “EPA Registered” and thus be approved for commercial distribution, its manufacturer must provide EPA with a broad array of data that includes the product’s chemical formula, active and other ingredients, packaging, label, and numerous other elements.

Quats are also used in some topical antiseptic products, like antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, that are meant to reduce bacteria on the skin and prevent infection, disease and spreading of germs. Quats used in products made for skin contact such as hand sanitizers are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are an important part of keeping you, your family and your community safe,” said Nathan Sell, ACI's director of regulatory science. “That’s why it’s also important to know what ingredients go into these products and to make sure that you’re using them in a safe way.”

“The CBC is deeply committed to providing information and education to the public about the safe and effective use of disinfectant products, and we were happy to collaborate with ACI on this project,” said Komal K. Jain, CBC's executive director. “People can and should feel confident that disinfectants, when used appropriately, will help eliminate the spread of harmful pathogens like SARS-CoV-2.”

To learn more about QUATS, visit “Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: FAQ on Common Disinfectant Ingredients.”