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Title: The first detection of quaternary ammonium compounds in breast milk: Implications for early-life exposure.

Authors: Zheng, Guomao; Schreder, Erika; Sathyanarayana, Sheela; Salamova, Amina

Published In J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol, (2022 Sep)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), commonly used in cleaning, disinfecting, and personal care products, have recently gained worldwide attention due to the massive use of disinfectants during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite extensive use of these chemicals, no studies have focused on the analysis of QACs in human milk, a major route of exposure for infants. OBJECTIVE: Our objectives were to identify and measure QACs in breast milk and evaluate early-life exposure to this group of compounds for nursing infants. METHODS: Eighteen QACs, including 6 benzylalkyldimethyl ammonium compounds (BACs, with alkyl chain lengths of C8-C18), 6 dialkyldimethyl ammonium compounds (DDACs, C8-C18), and 6 alkyltrimethyl ammonium compounds (ATMACs, C8-C18), were measured in breast milk samples collected from U.S. mothers. Daily lactational intake was estimated based on the determined concentrations for 0-12 month old nursing infants. RESULTS: Thirteen of the 18 QACs were detected in breast milk and 7 of them were found in more than half of the samples. The total QAC concentrations (ΣQAC) ranged from 0.33 to 7.4 ng/mL (median 1.5 ng/mL). The most abundant QAC was C14-BAC with a median concentration of 0.45 ng/mL. The highest median ΣQAC estimated daily intake (EDI) was determined for <1-month old infants based on the average (using the median concentration) and high (using the 95th percentile concentration) exposure scenarios (230 and 750 ng/kg body weight/day, respectively). SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings provide the first evidence of the detection of several QACs in breast milk and identify breastfeeding as an exposure pathway to QACs for nursing infants. IMPACT STATEMENT: Our findings provide the first evidence of QAC occurrence in breast milk and identify breastfeeding as one of the exposure pathways to QACs for nursing infants.

PubMed ID: 35437305 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Ammonium Compounds*; COVID-19*; Disinfectants*/analysis; Female; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Milk, Human/chemistry; Pandemics; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds/analysis; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds/chemistry

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