Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another chemical to avoid

An anonymous member of our community posted a comment yesterday, informing me of another chemical we all need to be award of. It's called Quaternium-15 or Q-15 and is a formaldehyde releaser. Quaternary ammonium salt is a preservative found in cosmetics, including popular baby washes and shampoos. This chemical compound slowly releases formaldehyde, causing a myriad of symptoms from slightly annoying to potentially dangerous.

I did some research and found the following three products contain Q-15: Johnson's head-to-toe baby wash, Huggies Baby Wash and Mr. Bubble Bath. Disturbing? It should be. Any product containing quaternary ammonium salt can cause contact dermatitis. It is a neurotixin and carcinogen and in addition to the contact dermatitis, which is the most common complaint, it also has been linked to insomnia, coughing, headaches, nausea and nose bleeds. Lovely.

If you've been reading the blog for long, you know I'm a big fan of Earth Mama Angel Baby products, including their baby wash. By sticking to products from companies like EMAB, you can avoid exposing your kids to any number of harmful toxins found in the more popular brands.

I sound like a broken record, but we all need to read, read, read labels!!

Quaternary ammonium salt goes by other names in addition to quaternium-15 (or Q-15). Look for the following:
  • Dowicil 75
  • Dowicil 100
  • Dowco 184
  • Dowicide Q; 1 (3-Chloroallyl) - 3,5,7 triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloroallyl chloride; 3,5,7 - triaza -1 - azoniaadamantane; 1- (3- chloroallyl) - chloride
I'm truly sorry if all this info seems overwhelming at times. It does seem like we have a lot to remember.

I recommend carrying a small notebook with you whenever you go shopping as a quick reference guide. Maybe someday I'll make one available to you, but for now I'm still gathering info and sharing what I learn.

Thank you to my anonymous friend who gave me the heads up on this. I love when the community cares about each other this way. Feel free to suggest topics or give me leads. Or, if you'd like to be featured as a guest blogger, email me and we'll line something up.

Keeping it healthy,


Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil


  1. I was searching the web for information on cationic surfactants and your post came up. I do hope in your blog you disucss exposure pathways and the idea of dose as an important part of risk to chemical exposure-this is a topic that is lesser discussed when enlightening folks on 'toxic' substances. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for your comment. Actually, I haven't covered exposure pathways or dose. If this is something you know a lot about and you would be interested in doing a guest post for me, contact me at greengrandma@comcast.net.


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