Agent Name

Benzalkonium chloride

CAS Number


Major Category

Nitrogen Compounds


Alkyl dimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride; Alkylbenzyldimethylammonium chloride; Alkyldimethyl(phenylmethyl)quaternary ammonium chlorides; Alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride; Ammonium, alkyldimethylbenzyl-, chloride; Ammonyx; Arquad B 100; Arquad dmmcb-75; BTC 100; BTC 2565; BTC 471; BTC 50; BTC 50 USP; BTC 65; BTC 65 USP; BTC 824; BTC 8248; BTC 8249; BTC E-8358; Barquat MB-50; Barquat MB-80; Bayclean; Benirol; Benzalconio cloruro [DCIT]; Benzalkonii chloridum [INN-Latin]; Benzalkonium A; Benzalkonium chloride; Bio-quat 50-24; Bio-quat 50-25; Bio-quat 50-30; Bio-quat 50-40; Bio-quat 50-42; Bio-quat 50-60; Bio-quat 50-65; Bio-quat 80-24; Bio-quat 80-28; Bio-quat 80-40; Bio-quat 80-42; Bionol; Capitol; Cequartyl; Chlorure de benzalkonium [INN-French]; Cloruro de benzalconio [INN-Spanish]; Culversan LC 80; Desitin Dabaways; Desitin Skin Care Lotions; Dimanin A; Disinall; Dodigen 226; Drapolene; Drapolex; Drest; E-Pilo Ophthalmic Solution; Enuclen; Epifrin Ophthalmic Solution; Gardiquart SV480; Gardiquat 1450; Genamin KDS; Germ-I-tol; Germicin; Germinol; Germitol; Hyamine 3500; Intexan LB-50; Kemamine BAC; Leda benzalkonium chloride; Mefarol; Murine For The Eyes; Muro Tears Ophthalmic Solution; Muro's Opcon A Ophthalmic Solution; Muro's Opcon Ophthalmic Solution; Murocoll-19 Opthalmic Solution; Murocoll-2 Ophthalmic Solution; Neo Germ-I-tol; Onyx BTC (Onyx oil & chem Co); Osvan; Paralkan; Pheneene germicidal solution & tincture; Pheneene germicidal solution and tincture; Quaternary ammonium compounds, alkylbenzyldimethyl, chlorides; Quaternium-1; Romergal CB; Triton K-60; Vikrol RQ; Visalens Soaking/Cleaning Solutions; Visalens Wetting Solution; Visine AC; Zephiral; Zephiran; Zephiran chloride; [ChemIDplus]


Quaternary Amines


White or yellowish-white, amorphous powder or gelatinous pieces; [HSDB]


Used to preserve cosmetics, mouthwashes, and skin cleansers and to cold sterilize medical and dental instruments; also used in agricultural, textile, and metallurgical processes; [Marks, p. 265-267] Quarternary ammonium compounds are also used as algaecides/slimicides (swimming pools, industrial water reservoirs, and farm ponds), antiseptcis for cleaning wounds, antistatic agents for textiles, softeners for paper products, and pigment dispersers; [IPCS-PIMs]


Sensitization is uncommon. Irritant responses may be seen at the concentrations used for patch testing (0.1%). Health care workers may develop contact dermatitis after handling cold sterilized instruments. [Marks, p. 265-267] Three cases of occupational asthma have been documented; [Reference #1] It causes irritant contact dermatitis, but may sensitize veterinarian, dental, and medical personnel; [Kanerva, p. 1754] Benzalkonium chloride is a rare skin sensitizer. Patch testing is difficult. Other quaternary ammonium compounds with rare or uncommon reports of sensitization include cetalkonium chloride (122-18-9), cetrimonium bromide (57-09-0), and dequalinium chloride (522-51-0); [Kanerva, p. 393] This surface-active, cationic detergent can have caustic effects on the GI tract if ingested. A lethal dose by ingestion of 100-400 mg/kg has been reported. [Olson, p. 193] Quaternary ammonium compounds have curare-like properties when concentrated solutions are ingested; Affected patients may have methemoglobinemia and hemolysis and die within 1-3 hours; No data on carcinogenicity or teratogenicity; [IPCS-PIMs]

Reference Link

Quaternary ammonium compounds and occupational asthma

Adverse Effects
Skin Sensitizer




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Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:


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