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Grapefruit Extract and Benzalkonium Chloride.

You might have heard about a chemical called Benzalkonium Chloride before, but my guess is you're probably not too familiar with this one. It's very common synthetic preservative, however it can hide in many products since it's not directly added, but rather is a contaminant of Grapefruit Seed Extract.

To be clear, grapefruit seeds don't naturally contain benzalkonium chloride and neither do their extracts when extracted through a natural process. However, commercially extracted grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been found to contain both benzalkonium, benzethonium, and more.

Grapefruit Seed Extract is widely used for its high antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The flavonoids, polyphenols, and organic acids contained in grapefruit are believed to be the responsible for GSE's high level of antimicrobial activity, and as more consumers are educating themselves about the harmful effects of synthetic preservatives companies have been using GSE more and more. Now ordinarily that would be amazing, but then comes commercial extraction.

Whether for cost savings, time savings, or both, commercially produced GSE is introduced to several synthetic chemicals during manufacturing, and infact, according to National Institute of Health (NIH) the main components of commercially available GSE are benzalkonium and benzethonium. With respect to commercial GSE the data on any natural component of GSE is unreliable and most studies done on commercial GSE have indicated that the synthetic chemical contaminants might actually be responsible for the preservative effects of commercial grapefruit extract rather than relying on the natural preservative effects of the extract. If you want to know more about the details click the link above, but what's important to know is what these chemicals can do to you.

Benzalkonium Chloride is widely used in disinfectant sprays and wipes to kill bacteria, but research suggests that it's toxic on skin contact, when consumed, and by inhalation. It can cause an array of issues ranging form skin, eye and lung irritation to decreased fertility (for both males and females), or death (when consumed in sufficient quantities.) It is actually a corrosive substance. You can find this chemical in everything from eye contact solution to food packaging as even outside of grapefruit seed extracts it is a widely used preservative. If you are using a product that contains Benzalkonium Chloride or commercially produced GSE I want to strongly encourage you to switch to a different brand. As even low and indirect exposure to this chemical is harmful to your body.

Benzenthonium Chloride is also a common synthetic disinfectant and antimicrobial substance. It is also highly toxic and can cause skin, eye, upper respiratory, and mucous membrane irritation. Benzenthonium can also cause Hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells). You can find this in things like mouthwash, anti-itch creams, and other toiletry products.

I say this frequently, but I can't say it often enough; don't be afraid to ask a company or manufacturer what is in their product or if they use truly natural and safe manufacturing processes to produce their products.