I love our Thirsties cloth wipes. I use them exclusively and since we’re already washing cloth diapers it’s super easy to throw them in wet bag and wash them. But I have to admit I’ve been using them because I feel it’s less wasteful and because it’s cost efficient. Out of curiosity, I did quick online search for the chemicals found in common brands of disposable baby wipes. I was shocked when I learned about the following common ingredients:
Methylisothiazolinone: This is what is known as a biocide. It is used to kill microbes or bacteria in solutions that contain water. It’s used a preservative of sorts in wipes. Full strength it can cause chemical burns, skin irritation and contact dermatitis. Some babies may actually have an allergy to this type of biocide and their skin may react accordingly. Methylisothiazolinone has been banned for use in cosmetics in Canada but not for use the in U.S.–and that includes baby wipes!
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate: This nasty chemical, also used as a preservative and biocide in disposable wipes, is also a neurotoxin. Though it was first used in paint and wood treatments, it is a common ingredient in both cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Because it’s so noxious, it is either banned or highly regulated in many countries, though not in the United States. This chemical is also a contact irritant. Why would it be added to baby wipes, of all things?
Dioxins: If the disposable wipes are made from a material such as a paper or other fiber that has been bleached, the wipes will contain dioxins. These are also present in any bleached disposable diapers. Dioxins are highly toxic and have been linked to cancer and fertility problems. They can negatively affect the immune system and the endocrine system (hormones). Babies that wear disposable diapers and are wiped with disposable wipes are being exposed to these dioxins almost all day long.
You can easily make your own homemade solutions for cloth wipes using inexpensive non-toxic ingredients, you can use a pre-made solution like Thirsties Booty Luster or in a pinch, you can use water. Any of these options are better than wiping off baby with a cocktail of chemicals on a non-biodegradable wipe.