Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Common Household Cleaning Products May Cause Birth Defects

Common Household Cleaning Products May Cause Birth Defects

A recent study published in the journal Birth Defects Research has discovered that common cleaning products used in homes, hotels, and hospitals may lead to birth defects. The study was conducted on mice, and revealed that the animals didn’t even need to have direct contact with the chemicals. Just being in the same room as the disinfectants led to increased birth defect rates.

“That was a little startling, just normal use of cleaner is sufficient to cause the birth defects,” stated Terry Hrubec, professor and researcher at Virginia Tech University, in Environmental Health News.

The study focused on specific group of chemicals often found in cleaning products called quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” used as a disinfectant to neutralize bacteria and viruses. Quats may be present in laundry detergent, treatments for swimming pools, food preservatives, and even personal care products like shampoo and conditioner.

The birth defects found to be associated with these disinfectants include neural tube defects of the brain or spinal cord. The two most common neural tube defects – spina bifida and anencephaly – affect over 2,300 infants in the United States annually.

As noted in Environmental Health News, “The scientists involved say they can’t draw any conclusions for exposed humans but ‘animal studies are the gold standard for predicting human health effects,’ said Hrubec.”

Contact a National Child Injury Lawyer

Infants and children are injured and die each year because of faulty toys and products or negligent conduct. Lieff Cabraser’s personal injury attorneys are committed to influencing safety improvements in all industries that negatively impact the health and welfare of children. These may include: birth defect injuries, car seat injuries, cerebral palsy and developmental delays, child food injuries, child vehicle injuries, home dangers, hospital injuries, and toy and magnet injuries. Learn more about Improving Safety for Infants and Children.