A study done by the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) analysis of hidden ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products found that 9% of baby wipes may be contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

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#4 – Formaldehyde, By Any Other Name…

Formaldehyde Baby Wipes

Formaldehyde has been deemed by the U.S.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a carcinogen.

Exposure can cause various skin conditions such as:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Flaking
  • Blistering
  • Cracking
  • Thickened, red, and scaly skin
  • Darkened and leathery skin

But, here’s the catch.

You won’t find formaldehyde listed as an ingredient.

Instead, you may see one of these formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.

  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol (Bronopol)
  • Polyoxymethylene Urea
  • 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane
  • Methenamine
  • Glyoxal
  • Benzyl Hemiformal

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#3 –  Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane

Ethylene Oxide and 1,4Dioxane

In an effort to make baby wipes less of a skin irritant, they undergo a process known as ethoxylation in which ethylene oxide is added.

Unless the manufacturer uses a vacuum-stripping process to get rid of the dangerous chemicals, they remain in the baby wipes.

These are just a few of the ingredients in baby wipes that can contain ethylene oxide and 1,4-Dioxane.

  • Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone
  • Potassium Laureth Phosphate
  • Polysorbate 20
  • PEG-75 Lanolin
  • Ceteareth-20


#2 – Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone Baby Wipes

Many baby wipes contain vitamin E.

This vitamin is known for both its anti-inflammatory properties and as a strong antioxidant.

It’s often included as a chemical compound with acetic acid.

However, these are often produced synthetically with hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is being investigated for carcinogenic properties.

Regardless, it is a skin allergen and contains other potential organ toxicity properties.

The problem arises if the manufacturer does not completely remove the hydroquinone. Traces of hydroquinone can remain in the final product.

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#1 – Phthalates

Phthalates Baby Wipes

Phthalates are often used when creating fragrances. According to EWG.org, fragrance mixes often contain diethyl phthalate.

Fragrances have been associated with the following side effects:

  • Allergies
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Respiratory distress
  • Adverse effects to the respiratory system

In fact, the EWG has given fragrance a rating of 8 on a scale of 10 for causing adverse health impacts.

(A rating of 0 has no adverse health impact.) With this in mind, it’s rather surprising (or maybe not) that many manufacturers do not disclose fragrance ingredients to consumers since so many people have allergies to scents.

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