Chemicals in household products linked to MS in study

A recent study suggests that two chemicals commonly found in household products such as disinfectants and furniture may contribute to the development of neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS).

Published in Nature Neuroscience, the study sheds light on the potential health risks associated with quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) and organophosphate flame retardants.

Researchers investigated over 1,800 household chemicals, highlighting a lack of research on their impact on brain health. They identified QACs and organophosphate flame retardants as particularly concerning. QACs, found in various products including body washes, fabric softeners, and disinfectants, were linked to the death of oligodendrocytes, the brain cells responsible for generating the protective layer around nerve cells. On the other hand, organophosphate flame retardants, present in electronic devices, building materials, and furniture, hindered the maturation of oligodendrocytes.

The study underscores the importance of oligodendrocyte function in neurological health. Disruptions in oligodendrocyte production have been associated with conditions such as MS and autism. According to Paul Tesar, one of the study’s authors and a director at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the findings reveal a previously unrecognised risk factor for neurological diseases.