Missing Mouse Mojo
Cracking the case of laboratory mice that suddenly stopped reproducing involved a little chemical sleuthing
The abstract from the article:
Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are antimicrobial disinfectants commonly used in commercial and household settings. Extensive use of QACs results in ubiquitous human exposure, yet reproductive toxicity has not been evaluated. Decreased reproductive performance in laboratory mice coincided with the introduction of a disinfectant containing both alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). QACs were detected in caging material over a period of several months following cessation of disinfectant use. Breeding pairs exposed for six months to a QAC disinfectant exhibited decreases in fertility and fecundity: increased time to first litter, longer pregnancy intervals, fewer pups per litter and fewer pregnancies. Significant morbidity in near term dams was also observed. In summary, exposure to a common QAC disinfectant mixture significantly impaired reproductive health in mice. This study illustrates the importance of assessing mixture toxicity of commonly used products whose components have only been evaluated individually.
Since these things are ubiquitous in our environment this should be a huge wakeup call. While I am not totally convinced on the BPA issue, at least with respect to adults (I believe there is enough evidence it should be kept away from infants and children), I think that the QAC results with the mouse study above should warrant a close look at the effects in humans.
While it is possible this is much ado about nothing (meaning the effects on humans are negligible (something only known through specific studies)) the effect in mice is dramatic enough that I would want to assume there is a problem until evidence is shown to the contrary.