Benzethonium chloride is a manufactured chemical used in detergents, deodorants, astringents, topical antiseptics, cold sterilization techniques and spermicides. When handled carefully to avoid contamination, benzethonium chloride should not cause any adverse effects. If accidental contamination with benzethonium chloride occurs, you can experience the following effects.
Inhalation of airborne dusts of benzethonium chloride or mists or sprays of solutions of benzethonium chloride can cause coughing and a sore throat.
Skin contact of undamaged skin with benzethonium chloride may cause dry skin and redness. Dilute solutions of benzethonium chloride are not usually irritating. Benzethonium chloride in spermicidal preparations may cause vaginal irritation, burning and itching in sensitive individuals.
Eye contact with benzethonium chloride may cause irritation, redness, pain and injury.
Ingestion of benzethonium chloride may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, collapse and coma. Ingestion of 1 to 3 grams of benzethonium chloride may be fatal.
Benzethonium chloride showed no evidence of carcinogenic activity in 2-year skin studies on male and female rats.