|Jmol-3D images||Image 1
|Molar mass||448.08 g mol−1|
|Melting point||163 °C (325 °F; 436 K)|
|Solubility in water||40 g dm-3 (at 20 °C)|
|GHS signal word||Danger|
|GHS hazard statements||H301, H314, H400|
|GHS precautionary statements||P273, P280, P305+351+338, P310|
|R-phrases||R22 R37/38 R41|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
Benzethonium chloride is a synthetic quaternary ammonium salt. This compound is an odorless white solid; soluble in water. It has surfactant, antiseptic, and anti-infective properties, and it is used as a topical antimicrobial agent in first aid antiseptics. It is also found in cosmetics and toiletries such as mouthwashes, anti-itch ointments, and antibacterial moist towelettes. Benzethonium chloride is also used in the food industry as a hard surface disinfectant.
Benzethonium chloride exhibits a broad spectrum of microbiocidal activity against bacteria, fungi, mold and viruses. Independent testing shows that benzethonium chloride is highly effective against such pathogens as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that the safe and effective concentrations for benzethonium chloride are 0.1-0.2% in first aid products. Aqueous solutions of benzethonium chloride are not absorbed through the skin. It is not approved in the US and Europe for use as a food additive. Being a quaternary ammonium salt, it is more toxic than negatively charged surfactants. However, in a two-year study on rats, there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity.
In addition to its highly effective antimicrobial activity, benzethonium chloride contains a positively charged nitrogen atom covalently bonded to four carbon atoms. This positive charge attracts it to the skin and hair. This contributes to a soft, powdery afterfeel on the skin and hair, as well as long-lasting persistent activity against microorganisms. Also, this positively-charged hydrophillic part of the molecule makes it a cationic detergent.
It is available under trade names Salanine, BZT, Diapp, Quatrachlor, Polymine D, Phemithyn, Antiseptol, Disilyn, Phermerol, and others. It is also found in several grapefruit seed extract preparations and can be used as a preservative, such as in the anaesthetic Ketamine.
In Popular Media
In Star Trek: Enterprise, benzethonium is used as a painkiller in hospitals on the planet Risa. Ensign Travis Mayweather was given it after a rock climbing accident but he turned out to be allergic.
Benzethonium chloride has also been mentioned in at least two NCIS (TV series) episodes. In "Once a Hero" (Season 4, episode 8), it is mentioned as a preservative for an anthrax vaccine. In "The San Dominick" (Season 12, episode 5), benzethonium chloride along with cetrimide and ammonia are found in a bathtub with a victim to slow the decomposition of the body.
- Record in the Household Products Database of NLM
- Tentative final monograph (21CFR 333)
- Data Sheets
- Berman, Rick, Brannon,Braga (writers) & Dorn, Michael (director). (May 15, 2002). "Two Days and Two Nights.".Star Trek: Enterprise. Season 1. Episode 25. United Paramount Network.