May 28, 2024

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We’ve been using a lot of disinfectants since the pandemic: It’s unsanitary |  Science and the planet

We’ve been using a lot of disinfectants since the pandemic: It’s unsanitary | Science and the planet

“Wipe it quickly with a cloth.” During the pandemic, extra attention has been given to cleaning for so long that it has become second nature for many people. So the use of disinfectants has increased dramatically. And that’s not necessarily good news, according to a new scientific study in ‘.Environmental science and technology“.

Scientists came to this conclusion in a recently published study, due to the increased use of disinfectants in recent years. Random samples show an increase in harmful substances in the environment and the human body, they write in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

These are the so-called quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as quats. They are often contained in disinfecting wipes or cleaning sprays. Scientists have written that qatis is linked to respiratory problems and dermatitis when exposed to large amounts. That is, exposure and disorders go hand in hand, but a causal relationship has not been proven. Excessive quats also cause bacteria to become resistant, making cleaning more difficult in the long run, and also reduce the effect of antibiotics. These issues have been known for quite some time, but they are becoming more severe now that usage has increased very quickly.

Soapy water works best

For example, the authors concluded that disinfecting wipes are used in schools to clean children’s desks. These wipes also get used up pretty quickly around the house, says Courtney Karinian of Michigan State University, one of the authors. And she concludes that in many cases, quats don’t help and can even be harmful. Soap and water often works best. It is best for consumers to use as little disinfectant as possible.

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Accurate data is often not available on the amounts of portholes that end up in the environment. The authors of the article therefore recommend better monitoring, for example by analyzing wastewater for the presence of these substances. “Ironically, the chemicals we use in vain against one health crisis fuel another,” Northwestern University fellow Erica Hartmann said, summarizing the situation.

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