Why You Should Avoid Disinfectants Containing Benzyl Alcohol
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LaboratoriesJanuary 18, 2022

Why You Should Avoid Disinfectants Containing Benzyl Alcohol

Disinfection is top of mind for many organizations in various markets as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year. With seemingly limitless options on the market, navigating all available disinfection solutions can be difficult for those who are looking for the ideal one suited for their applications and environment. Benzyl alcohol is one such solution that is commonly marketed as a disinfectant—but it has serious and potentially harmful drawbacks.

Benzyl alcohol is used across a variety of industries as a preservative, solvent, and disinfectant. It’s also a component of some hydrogen peroxide disinfectants in laboratory and research fields. But there are many risks associated with using benzyl alcohol as a disinfectant against dangerous pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, C. auris, C. difficile, and others.

Leadership and personnel involved in disinfection prevention practices at work must develop a better understanding of the risks of using disinfectants containing benzyl alcohol inside their facility. This blog post explores what benzyl alcohol is, why it should be avoided, and what its proven and reliable alternatives are.

What Benzyl Alcohol Is

Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol consisting of benzene and bearing a single hydroxymethyl substituent. It serves a role as a solvent, a metabolite, an antioxidant, and a fragrance.

Why Benzyl Alcohol Should Be Avoided

Benzyl alcohol should be avoided in disinfection products as it has been shown to be a possible inhalation danger, which can negatively affect end-users. It also can cause allergic reactions and dermatitis. It has been linked to reduced murine (laboratory animal) feed intake, growth and maternal body rates, and decreased mean litter weights. There are also studies that suggest benzyl alcohol-based H202 disinfectants cause murine behavioral aversion and delayed hatching and survival rate in zebrafish. These results indicate that it may be harmful to people as well as animals.

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) products contain a lot of benzyl alcohol and other ingredients like surfactants—which do not have to be declared as actives. AHP is therefore not suitable for fogging disinfection, which is a leading type of disinfectant application.

Why Use an Alternative Disinfection Solution

Infection control teams and facility managers should ensure their chosen disinfection solution does not contain benzyl alcohol. Ensuring the safety and health of people inside the facility is paramount, so no risks should be taken by using a solution that has concerns around it. It’s important to use a disinfection solution that is not only reliable, but safe and effective as well.

Halosil’s hydrogen peroxide disinfectant HaloMist™ (EPA Reg. No. 84526-6) contains no benzyl alcohol, and still has the quick and proven kill claims that facilities require. HaloMist operates at the molecular level as a disinfectant solution, killing off infectious materials and pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, MRSA, C. auris, C. diff, and more. It’s non-corrosive and bleach free, and safely decomposes into environmentally-friendly disinfection byproducts—water, oxygen, and non-toxic silver complexes—which makes it safe for both people and the environment. HaloMist is also on the EPA’s List K (registered antimicrobial products effective against C. difficile spores) and List N (disinfectants effective against coronavirus) and is proven to achieve a 6-log kill rate in disinfection applications. Learn more about HaloMist here: https://halosil.com/products/halomist/.