What are quats, and why be against them?
“Quats” (ammonium quaternary compounds) are harmful disinfecting chemicals used in wipes and other cleaning and disinfecting products. Quats are pesticides; they are asthma triggers, allergens and are linked to other respiratory ad reproductive harm. They are even suspect in the spread of ‘superbugs’, that cannot be controlled with antibiotics. Making changes in the home can help reduce exposure to these toxic chemicals. But quats are also routinely used in public spaces, like schools, gyms, office building and grocery stores.
Now, more than ever — as we work to keep our communities safe from COVID-19 — we need to talk about the safety of disinfectants, the overuse and misuse of these products, and the health concerns linked to quat exposure. Protection is important; that includes protection from toxic chemicals. Thankfully, there are numerous disinfecting products that do not use quats, that are safer and just as effective (or more so) at killing bacteria and viruses — including COVID-19.
What is People Against Quats?
People Against Quats (PAQ) is a national action group of concerned people who want to take action to eliminate or reduce public exposure to quats in places like schools, childcare facilities, gyms, apartment buildings, public work places and more. PAQ members are from around the country, who are working locally to make change in their communities. The PAQ action group meets regularly by phone (or video) to brainstorm ideas, coordinate local strategies, and support each other. In addition to the PAQ action group meetings, you will also talk separately with WVE staff to get tailored support.
As a member, you will be a leader in your community. The action group provides a support system so you don’t feel like you’re working alone!
What kinds of local actions can a PAQ member work on?
As a member, you will create your own plan of action that works for your needs, schedule, and community. So don’t worry about taking on too much—we won’t let that happen. Some local actions that you could potentially choose to work on include:
- Meet with the school principal (or child care facility operator) to discuss your concerns about quats
- Distribute resources on the dangers of the overuse and misuse of quats, and provide effective, safer alternatives to disinfecting
- Work to get products containing quats off of back-to-school shopping lists
- Engage your local business and/or city council to advocate for safer cleaning products that don’t contain quats, or other harmful chemicals, used in public spaces
What you’ll get as a PAQ member
- A resource toolkit that meets the needs of PAQ members
- Support with reaching out to decision-makers and other local stakeholders, from WVE’s outreach manager
- Support with being a spokesperson on the science of quats from WVE’s director of science and research
- Support with social media from WVE’s communications director
- Ideas, feedback, and encouragement from other PAQ members
- Separate conversations with WVE staff for tailored support (to develop your action plan, get specific guidance and/or feedback, practice talking points/scripts, etc.)
- The opportunity to speak on future webinars, sharing your experience taking action locally
Start TODAY with this TOOLKIT!
Don’t want to wait to start taking on QUATS? I don’t blame you! Many of our PAQ members are parents or caregivers who joined this action group due to their concerns of the the misuse and overuse of quats in schools and childcare setting. This toolkit is specifically designed to help start the conversation with educators and school administrators about harmful disinfectants — while also providing safer & effective alternatives and best-practices that will reduce exposures to toxic chemicals, and help keep not only our kids, but our educators and school staff, healthy and safe. Take a look!