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What's Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC) used for?

  • What is Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC)?

  •  Is benzalkonium chloride safe?

  • What is benzalkonium chloride’s side effects?

  • What is benzalkonium chloride used for?

What is Benzalkonium chloride(BKC)?

What is Benzalkonium Chloride (BKC)?

Benzalkonium chloride, also known as BZK, BKC, BAC, alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride and ADBAC. It is a cationic surfactant belonging to the quaternary ammonium group. It has three main uses: as a biocide, a cationic surfactant, and as a phase transfer agent in the chemical industry. This compound is a heterogeneous mixture of various even-numbered alkyl alkane benzyl chlorides.


Benzalkonium chloride(BKC)’s chemical formula is as follows:

Benzalkonium chloramine is soluble in ethanol and acetone. Although slow to dissolve in water, Benzalkonium chloramine aqueous solutions are easier to handle and are still preferred. Benzalkonium chloramine aqueous solutions should be neutral to slightly alkaline in color from colorless to pale yellow. Benzalkonium chloramine aqueous solutions foam when shaken and have a bitter and faint almond taste in concentrated solutions.

What is the main active ingredient of Benzalkonium chloride(BKC)?

This product is a mixture, it is main active ingredient is dimethylbenzyl ammonium chloride . Calculated on the basis of anhydrous, the hydrocarbon-containing ammonium salt (C 22 H 40 ClN) should be 95.0% to 105.0%.

What is the pharmacology and toxicology of Benzalkonium chloride(BKC)?

Benzalkonium chloride(BKC) solution is a cationic surfactant, which is a broad-spectrum bactericide, which can change the permeability of bacterial cytoplasmic membrane, make bacterial cytoplasmic substances extravasate, hinder its metabolism and play a killing role. Benzalkonium chloride has a strong effect on gram-positive bacteria, but is ineffective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, acid-fast bacilli and cell spores, and can rapidly combine with proteins. Occasionally, blood, cotton, cellulose and organic matter exist, and the effect is significantly reduced.

Is benzalkonium chloride safe?

Experts in the United States have found that concentrations of benzalkonium chloride less than 0.1% are safe as an ingredient in skin care products, but when the concentration exceeds 0.1%, benzalkonium chloride may be irritating to the skin and eyes. For adults with healthy skin and no wounds on the skin surface, there is no need to worry that this substance will cause harm to the human body when using wet wipes containing benzalkonium chloride with a concentration of less than 0.1%.


What is benzalkonium chloride’s side effects?

As we all know, benzalkonium chloride is currently widely used for cleaning life. Has been identified as a harmful substance or allergen to human skin and respiratory system. The Environmental Cooperation Group (EWG) rated its risk level as 6 points (total of 10 points, 1-2 as low risk, 3-6 as medium risk, 7-10 as high risk), and considered it to be very risky. Patients with breathing problems and people with allergic skin present certain threats.


What is benzalkonium chloride used for?

 Benzalkonium chloride(BKC) solutionused as antiseptic in medicine


Benzalkonium chloride(BKC) solution is mainly used for disinfection of mucous membranes of surgical sites, disinfection of skin and mucous membrane wounds, as well as disinfection of infected skin and vaginal irrigation. It should be noted that this product can only be used externally and cannot be used for oral administration or enema. In addition, it cannot be used for a long time or in a large area on mucosal wounds or inflammatory sites. At the same time, in the process of use, you should pay attention to the following issues:

 Quaternary ammonium surfactants have medium bactericidal strength. As bactericides for surgical instruments and heat-labile items, their efficacy is not precise. Therefore, in 2010, they have been replaced by other low-toxic and efficient disinfectants. Not used for disinfection of the above items.

benzalkonium chloride solution cannot be used for the mucus of soft contact lenses.

The benzalkonium chloride aqueous solution can be contaminated by microorganisms. In order to reduce the risk of contamination, an aseptic operation should be used or diluted before use, freshly prepared according to the required concentration, and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent this product during storage and dilution. possible contamination of the product.

Do not use soap, salt, or other synthetic detergents, and avoid using aluminum containers. To sterilize metal instruments, add 0.5% sodium nitrite to prevent rust.

The aqueous solution should not be stored in the polyvinyl chloride bottle to avoid the reaction with the plasticizer contained in it and the disappearance of efficacy.

Not suitable for disinfection of cystoscopes, ophthalmic instruments, and synthetic rubber.

What are Benzalkonium chloride(BKC)’s side effects in medicine?

 allergic reactions after repeated use. The concentration of the external solution of this product generally does not cause skin irritation, but some patients may experience allergic reactions after repeated use. When used as a preservative for eye drops, allergic conjunctivitis, vision loss and the like have been reported.

This product has the properties of a depolarizing muscle relaxant. After taking it, the toxic symptoms include dyspnea and cyanosis caused by respiratory muscle paralysis and even lead suffocation. Central nervous system depression, hypotension, coma, and death can also occur.

Under what circumstances should the Benzalkonium chloride(BKC) solution be used with caution?

– It is certain that patients with glaucoma, dry eye, infection, and iritis have used benzalkonium chloride-containing eye drops too often, for too long enough to cause damage. They have a higher incidence of endothelial damage, epithelial edema, and bullous keratopathy, and because of the severity of these conditions, other secondary hazards may be overlooked, especially in patients with epithelial defects or corneal ulcers.

– In terms of treatment, use local solutions such as sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and soft soap to antagonize misuse as soon as possible. After absorption, timely use of appropriate corticosteroids for anti-inflammatory and anti-toxic treatment can reduce symptoms and shorten the course of the disease.

It is forbidden to combine with soap and salt disinfectants. Not suitable for disinfection of cystoscopes, ophthalmic instruments, and synthetic rubber products.

-Use with caution in the following situations:

①Cardiovascular diseases, including angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, myocardial infarction, etc.;

②The use of this type of drug should be cautious in patients with hypothyroidism or myxedema with a long course of the disease and severe disease, starting with a small dose, and then slowly increasing until the physiological replacement dose;

③ Patients with anterior pituitary insufficiency or adrenal insufficiency should use corticosteroids first, and then use these drugs after the adrenal cortex function returns to normal. For patients with heart disease and long-term hypothyroidism, the use of benzalkonium chloride replacement therapy is more dangerous, and adrenal insufficiency is often associated with hypothyroidism. If benzalkonium chloride replacement therapy precedes corticosteroid therapy, Addison’s crisis is possible.

For patients with swollen benzalkonium chloride, the secretion of benzalkonium chloride is always maintained within the normal range. Due to the accumulation of endogenous benzalkonium chloride, a relatively small amount of exogenous hormones will cause excessive benzalkonium chloride.

Benzalkonium chloride(BKC) is used as an antibacterial in water treatment

Benzalkonium Chloride is a cationic surfactant, a non-oxidizing fungicide, with broad-spectrum and high-efficiency sterilization and algae killing ability, can effectively control bacteria and algae reproduction and slime growth in water, and has good slime peeling It has certain dispersing and osmotic effects and has certain degreasing, deodorizing and corrosion-inhibiting effects.

Benzalkonium chloride has low toxicity, no cumulative toxicity is easily soluble in water and is not affected by water hardness, so it is widely used in circulating cooling water systems in petroleum, chemical, electric power, textile, and other industries. Paper mills and oil well water injection systems in oil fields are used to control the growth of bacteria and algae in circulating cooling water systems and are useful for killing sulfate-reducing bacteria. Benzalkonium chloride is used as a bactericidal and algicide, and the general dosage is 50-100mg/L; as a slime stripper, the dosage is 200-300mg/L, and an appropriate amount of silicone antifoaming agent can be added when necessary.

Benzalkonium chloride can be used in combination with other fungicides, such as isothiazolinone, glutaraldehyde, dithiocyanomethane, etc., which can play a synergistic effect but cannot be used together with chlorophenols. After the addition of benzalkonium chloride, there is dirt in the circulating water due to peeling, which should be filtered or removed in time to avoid deposition after the foam disappears. Benzalkonium chloride should not be mixed with anionic surfactants such as polyacrylic acid, hydrolyzed polymethylene, etc.

Benzalkonium chloride used in detergent

Used for disinfection of medical equipment, also used for sanitation and washing in swimming pools, laundry rooms, and public places, and cleaning of food industry equipment

Benzalkonium chloride can be used in the textile printing and dyeing industry as a bactericidal and mildew-proofing agent, softener, antistatic agent, emulsifier, conditioner, etc.

Benzalkonium chloride used in wet wipes

sanitary wipes are the most important difference between sanitary wipes and general wet wipes, because sanitary wipes mainly rely on these active ingredients for sterilization. In order to achieve an effective antibacterial effect, some effective bactericidal ingredients must be added, such as benzalkonium chloride, benzalkonium bromide, chlorhexidine gluconate, chlorhexidine acetate, etc. with bactericidal effect. Benzalkonium chloride wipes should avoid contact with eyes or mouth during use to prevent side effects. When skin allergy occurs during use, it should be stopped in time to avoid serious consequences.

Benzalkonium chloride can also be widely used in personal care products, such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, body lotion, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and cosmetics, etc. It has good antistatic, soft effect.

benzalkonium chloride used in Oil & gas industry as strong biocide , to prevent pipe from being blocked and rusted.

Benzalkonium chloride used in Applications in plantation and animal farming :

Use 2-5% benzalkonium chloride (1227) solution to spray and disinfect grain warehouses, livestock pens, jamsils, and the breeding places and appliances of cash crops such as mushrooms and white fungus.

Benzalkonium chloride is also used as a preservative for paste, gelatin and photographic film

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