EcoWaste Coalition Advises Consumers Not to Buy Baby Wipes Containing Banned Chemicals That Can Elicit Adverse Skin Reactions

Front packaging of baby wipes brands with banned ingredients. ECOWASTE COALITION

16 March 2021, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition has warned consumers, especially mothers and nannies, against buying and using wet wipes with banned ingredients to clean baby’s bottom that can trigger adverse skin reactions.

The watchdog group on harmful chemicals, products and wastes alerted consumers about this health hazard after finding eight unauthorized baby wipes in the market that list methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone, which are prohibited in leave-on cosmetic products, including wet wipes, among their ingredients.

In test buys conducted on March 10 and 14, the group obtained from  retail establishments in Pasay and Valenzuela Cities eight brands of baby wipes containing the said banned ingredients.  The products costing P15.75 to P39.75 per pack are not notified with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The ingredients list of said baby wipes brands contain the prohibited ingredient as part of their lists. ECOWASTE COALITION

The group had already written to the concerned retail outlets to stop the sale of non-compliant baby wipes.  It had also reported the matter to the FDA.

“We caution all mothers, nannies and others who provide child care not to use wet wipes containing methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone, which can cause contact dermatitis or CD,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

CD, according to the World Allergy Organization, “is a skin disorder characterized by redness, itching and vesiculation (that) results from contact with environmental substances that elicit an allergic and/or irritant response.” 

“Carefully read product labels and reject those listing methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone as ingredients, as well as those that are not duly authorized by the FDA,” Dizon advised consumers.

“Manufacturers of wet wipes with banned ingredients and their local importers and distributors should stop marketing these cheap but unsafe products,” he added, noting that the industry has been provided with ample time to reformulate their products and withdraw the non-compliant ones from the market.

The FDA through Circular No. 2017-006, which it reiterated through Advisory No. 2018-034, prohibited methylisothiazolinone in leave-on cosmetic products and set a grace period until August 31, 2018 to assist the industry to comply.

More than two years after the said deadline, the EcoWaste Coalition still managed to buy the following non-compliant imported wipes from local retailers:  Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes (with Chinese charaters), Duo Yang Cool Summer Baby Skincare Wipes, Duo Yang Sky Freedom Baby Skincare Wipes, Floral Baby Wipes, LovedCare Baby Tender Baby Wipes, and MRP Tong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes.

Commonly used as a mixture in products, methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are not allowed in leave-on cosmetic products, as well as wet wipes, under the cosmetic regulations being enforced by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the FDA.

According to the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, “for leave-on cosmetic products (including ‘wet wipes’), no safe concentrations of methylisothiazolinone for induction of contact allergy or elicitation have been adequately demonstrated.”

“We also remind the consuming public to properly dispose of used wipes.  Please do not flush soiled wipes or throw them on streets or canals to avoid blocking the drainage and  sewerage systems and polluting our water bodies,” concluded Dizon.