Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that baby wipes are lifesavers that can be whipped out to counter accidental spills, sticky hands, or diaper changes. But did you know that an overwhelming majority of baby wipes actually contain toxic products that are likely to negatively impact your baby or child’s health when used on a regular basis? Read on to find out more!
Whilst many popular baby wipes brands contain plenty of toxic ingredients, you’ll never be able to tell from the packaging alone. These are typically byproducts of the manufacturing process, and are often hidden and/or passed off as a different ingredient on the labelling and packaging.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, formaldehyde is a carcinogen and a “dangerous substance”. In small quantities, these typically cause eczema (specifically, a form of eczema called allergic contact dermatitis). Symptoms include itchiness, swollenness, as well as dry and bumpy skin. In severe cases, blisters may develop, and one’s skin will be prone to flaking and cracking.
Obviously, you won’t want to purchase any baby wipes which have formaldehyde listed as one of their ingredients. But manufacturers are a step ahead – instead of listing formaldehyde as an ingredient, they’ve instead included the names of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, such as the following:
Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Benzylhemiformal, Methenamine, Glyoxal, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol)
#2: Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane
In producing baby wipes, petrochemical raw materials are often used, and in order to make these less abrasive to one’s skin, ethylene oxide is added to the mixture. During this process, 1,4-dioxane is also created; both these compounds are known carcinogens which shouldn’t be anywhere near your baby.
Again, you won’t find these two ingredients listed explicitly on the packaging of popular baby wipes in the market; however, look for these other ingredients, which may be contaminated with ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane:
PEG-75 Lanolin, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Ceteareth-20, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Polysorbate 20
Phthalates, which are commonly used in fragrances, are known to cause hormone disruption, as well as a whole host of other side effects such as allergies, respiratory distress, and even infertility. You won’t be able to find the ingredient phthalates listed on your baby wipes, but look out for terms such as fragrance, perfume, parfum, or any other variant that sounds similar. If you find any of these in the ingredients listed on your baby wipes, move on and look for another brand!
What baby wipes are safe to use?
Always look for an organic, 100% natural option such as Wotnot Baby Wipes. Wotnot is made of certified organic aloe vera and biodegradable fibre, and is free from artificial fragrances or preservatives, sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, caustics, chlorines or glycols. It’s also won several awards in Australia, including awards from the Organic Expo, My Child Excellence and more. An alternative solution would be to DIY your own baby wipes – if you want to try this, you’ll find plenty of tutorials available online.