EcoWaste Coalition Urges Public to Watch Out for Baby Wipes Containing Restricted Preservative

A non-profit watch group on harmful chemicals in products and wastes today urged consumers of wet wipes, especially those used for babies, to watch out for products containing a restricted preservative. 

The EcoWaste Coalition observed that many baby wipes and facial cleansing wipes on sale in sidewalks and discount stores are not duly registered with the health authorities and some contain iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC), which is prohibited in products intended for children under three years old under the ASEAN and European Cosmetic Directives.

A market surveillance conducted by the group between August 28 to October 12, 2016 showed that at least 30  brands of baby wipes and cleansing wipes being sold in the market for as low as P15 are not notified or registered with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

“This is a cause for concern as these products may contain banned or restricted substances like IPBC that may cause health risk, especially for babies, who are prone to skin allergic reactions,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The group is likewise concerned that the arbitrary disposal of wet wipes used to clean baby’s bottom, face and nose, remove make-up or keep oily skin in check may be contributing to environmental pollution.

“Carelessly thrown wipes may clog up sewerage systems and end up in canals and rivers and finally into the oceans where wipes can harm marine life,” he added. 

Governments in Europe, the EcoWaste Coalition said, have taken action against IPBC-containing wet wipes marketed for kids under three years of age because these products pose “chemical risk.”

From 2013 to date, public health authorities in the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden banned 19 types of wet wipes for containing IPBC and other preservatives of concern.

In explaining the withdrawal of IPBC-containing wet wipes, the Czech Republic, for instance, stated that “IPBC may penetrate the skin of the infant and may have an adverse effect of the function of the thyroid gland.”

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health in 2011 warned that baby wipes containing IPBC “may pose a public health risk because of their potential sensitizing and allergenic effects.”

As a precaution against potential harm to health, the group advised consumers not to patronize wet wipes containing IPBC and to consult the FDA website for products that are duly notified or registered with the agency.  

Be wary of imported wet wipes with no information about their foreign manufacturers and/or local distributors, the group added.

The EcoWaste Coalition has already notified the FDA about the results of its latest market surveillance.