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* A synthetic quaternary ammonium salt.
Primarily used as a preservative and antimicrobial agent, and secondarily used as a surfactant. It works by killing microorganisms and inhibiting their future growth, and for this reason frequently appears as an ingredient in antibacterial hand wipes, antiseptic creams and anti-itch ointments. In cosmetics, its antimicrobial properties are employed to protect products from spoiling. It's mostly used in personal care products like rash creme, foot odor powder, facial lotion, cleanser, makeup and sunscreen.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
Benzethonium chloride can be irritating to the skin at concentrations higher than 5%. A suspected carcinogen, some believe that it can harm the body's immune system, central nervous system and lymph system. However, the CIR Expert Panel conducted several studies that showed no evidence for any potential toxicity, carcinogenic activity or mutagenic capabilities. Furthermore, several independent studies demonstrate benzethonium chloride as a possible ati-cancer agent. the CIR assessed this ingredient as safe to use at concentrations up to .5% in OTC skin care products, and at at maximum concentration of .02% for products used in the eye area.