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  Quaternium-15 is a preservative found in many cosmetics and industrial substances that releases formaldehyde. It can be found in numerous sources, including but not limited to: mascara, eyeliner, moisturizer, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, personal lubricants, soaps, body wash, baby lotion or shampoo, facial cleanser, tanning oil, self-tanning cream, sunscreen, powder, shaving products, ointments, personal wipes or cleansers, wipes, paper, inks, paints, polishes, waxes and industrial lubricants. It can cause contact dermatitis, a symptom of an allergic reaction, especially in those with sensitive skin, on an infant's skin, or on sensitive areas such as the genitals.

Its chemical formula is C9H16Cl2N4. It can be found under a variety of names, including: Dowicil 75; Dowicil 100; Dowco 184; Dowicide Q; 1-(3-Chloroallyl)-3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloride; N-(3-chloroallyl) hexaminium chloride; hexamethylenetetramine chloroallyl chloride; 3,5,7-Triaza-1-azoniaadamantane; 1-(3-chloroallyl)-chloride.

Its CAS number is [4080-31-3] and its SMILES structure is Cl\C=C/C[N+]23CN1CN(C3)CN(C2)C1.[Cl-].


Other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives similar to quaternium-15 include: imidazolidinyl urea (Germall 115®), diazolidinyl urea (Germall II®), DMDM hydantoin (Glydant®), 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (Bronopol™), tris(hydroxymethyl) nitromethane (Tris Nitro®), and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.(Suttocide A®)

Safety concerns

Quaternium-15 is an allergen, and can cause contact dermatitis in susceptible individuals.[1] Many of those with an allergy to quaternium-15 are also allergic to formaldehyde. Allergic sensitivity to quaternium-15 can be detected using a patch test.[2] It is the single most often found cause of allergic contact dermatitis of the hands (16.5% in 959 cases)[3]


  1. ^ Cahill J, Nixon R. Allergic contact dermatitis to quaternium 15 in a moisturizing lotion. Australas J Dermatol. 2005 Nov;46(4):284-5. PMID 16197434
  2. ^ New Zealand Dermatological Society. Quaternium-15 contact allergy. DermNet NZ. Retrieved on 2007-05-31.
  3. ^ E. Warshaw, et al. Contact dermatitis of the hands: Cross-sectional analyses of North American Contact Dermatitis Group Data, 1994-2004. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 57, Issue 2, Pages 301-314
  • National Institute of Health Household Products Database - Quaternium-15
  • Occupational Hazards - Quaternium-15
  • PubChem 5475987
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Quaternium-15". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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