A few days ago, I went to my bank to deposit some money into my account. When I walked up to the teller, I noticed that her face was extremely inflamed and she looked uncomfortable. I asked her if she was okay, and she apologized. She said, “Oh, I’m sorry but I seem to be having an allergic reaction to something.” I asked the bank teller if she knew what might have caused it. She said she wasn’t sure but that she thought it might be related to the Lysol they had been spraying around the office that morning. “With all the people coming down with the flu, we’ve been trying to disinfect everything,” she said.
I offered some empathy. “Yes, it does seem like an awful lot of people are getting sick lately.”1 But Lysol? I remembered reading once how toxic Lysol was and how it should be avoided as a household cleaning product. The U.S. government classifies Lysol as a pesticide.2 3 “Ah no, though,” I told the teller, “stay away from that stuff.”
In 2011, the Daily Beast included Lysol disinfectant spray in its list of “most toxic home-cleaning products.” The publication noted ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, and triethanolamine as the “potentially harmful ingredients” in the product and that they were “suspected of causing cancer, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, respiratory toxicity.”5 Reproductive toxicity? Apparently, during the first half of the 20th century douching with Lysol was a form of female contraception.7
By 1940, the commercial douche had become the most popular birth control method in the country, favored by women of all classes. It would remain the leading female contraceptive until 1960, when a breakthrough technology—oral contraceptives—knocked it off its lofty pedestal. An inexpensive alternative to male and medical methods, the antiseptic douche was ineffective, even dangerous. Scores of douching preparations, though advertised as modern medical miracles, contained nothing more than water, cosmetic plant extracts, and table salt. On the other hand, many others, including the most popular brand, Lysol disinfectant, were soap solutions containing cresol (a constituent of crude carbolic acid, a distillate of coal and wood), which, when used in too high a concentration cause severe inflammation, burning, and even death.8
The active ingredient in Lysol is benzalkonium chloride9 10 (also known as alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride11 12). Well, it turns out that benzalkonium chloride can produce allergic reactions such as a “rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.”13 So that might explain my bank teller’s bright red face.
Lysol is not something you want to be spraying around your home or office. There are much better ways to avoid catching influenza. Here are a few of them, as recommended by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC):
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick. If you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods rich in vitamins C & D.
- Get adequate sleep, lower stress and exercise regularly when you are well.
- Consider holistic options like chiropractic, homeopathic, naturopathic and acupuncture to heal and stay well.14
A side note. Benzalkonium chloride has been used as a preservative in some vaccines, according to an article by the Weston A. Price Foundation.15 16 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that benzalkonium chloride is currently used in one vaccine that it has approved—the anthrax vaccine BioThrax, produced by Emergent BioDefense Corp.17 18 The side effects of ingesting benzalkonium chloride include respiratory depression, central nervous system depression, mucous membrane erosion, gastrointestinal erosion, urinary system reactions, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, coma, and death.15 19 20 There has apparently been no testing done to determine the safety of injecting benzalkonium chloride into humans.15
There have been reports of accidental injections of benzalkonium chloride into humans. In one case, a male nurse attempted suicide by injecting himself with benzalkonium chloride. The individual was ultimately treated for acute respiratory distress syndrome and survived.21 In another case, a dental patient was accidentally injected with benzalkonium chloride instead of a local anesthetic while having her tooth extracted. The patient developed “chin and neck swelling led to dyspnea” and she “lost consciousness.”22
According to NVIC’s Barbara Loe Fisher, “Reported reactions to anthrax vaccine have ranged from mild to severe local reactions, fever, chills and nausea that resolve without permanent damage to serious reactions resulting in permanent autoimmune and brain dysfunction, including chronic disabling fatigue, persistent headaches, severe joint pain and crippling arthritis, numbness and muscle weakness, severe memory loss, paralysis, seizures and death.”23
Back to the “flu.” Wash your hands. Plain soap and water.
1 Cáceres M. Why is Everyone Getting So Sick With the “Flu” This Time? The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 6, 2018.
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. US EPA, Pesticide Product Label, LYSOL(R) BRAND DISINFECTANT. EPA.gov.
3 EPA. U.S. EPA, Pesticide Product Label, LYSOL BRAND DISINFECTANT. EPA.gov.
4 United States Department of Agriculture. EPA-Approved Pesticides for Use Against the Causative Agents of Selected Foreign Animal Diseases in Farm Settings. USDA.gov.
5 Most Toxic Home-Cleaning Products, from Lysol to Liquid-Plumr. Daily Beast Oct. 25, 2011.
6 Powell L. Dangerous Cleaning Products You Need to Stop Using. Collective Evolution Feb. 5, 2017.
7 Pasulka N. When Women Used Lysol as Birth Control. Mother Jones Mar. 8, 2012.
8 Tone A. Devices & Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America. Hill and Wang 2001.
9 U.S. National Institutes of Health. LYSOL HEALTHY TOUCH- benzethonium chloride. NIH.gov.
10 Lysol. Wikipedia.
11 Barendse S. Is Lysol Toxic to Humans?
12 Benzalkonium chloride. Wikipedia.
13 Benzalkonium chloride topical Side Effects. Drugs.com.
14 National Vaccine Information Center. Know the Facts to Stay Healthy This Flu Season. NVIC.org.
15 Pond M. The Toxic Ingredients in Innoculations. The Weston A. Price Foundation Aug. 3, 2015.
16 Pivnick H, Tracy JM, Glass DG. Studies of preservatives of poliomyelitis (salk) vaccine I. Benzethonium chloride. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences September 1963, 52(9), 883–888.
17 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal and Vaccines. FDA.gov.
18 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Food Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary. CDC.gov.
19 NIH. Benzalkonium Chloride. Toxicology Data Network.
20 Briggs SA. Basic Guide to Pesticides: Their Characteristics and Hazards. Rachel Carson Council 1992.
21 Miyauchi M, Hayashida M, Yokota H. Benzalkonium chloride intoxication caused by intravenous self-injection. Chudoku Kenkyu December 2014; 27(4): 327-32.
22 Kilic E, Er N, Alkan A, Ferahbas A. Accidental benzalkonium chloride (zephiran) injection. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod December 2011; 11 2(6):e103-5.
23 Fisher BL. Biological Warfare and Anthrax Vaccine. NVIC Newsletter December 2001.