- Phthalates - male reproductive system disorders
- Fragrance (may also contain phthalates)- hormone disruptors, common allergen
- PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compunds - absorbs easily through skin, possible carcinogen
- Parabens (all kinds) - estrogen mimicking preservative potentially contributing to reproductive, endocrine and developmental disorders
The first place I learned about the chemicals being used in products such as baby wipes was from the Environmental Working Group. They have easily accessible and useful databases, guides, and printouts about chemicals found in cosmetics, sunscreen, baby products and many other topics such as pesticides used on produce. Over two years ago I decided to purge all my cosmetics and begin fresh with chemical free products. I used information from EWG (from their cosmetics guide) to review the ingredients in each of the products I was looking to use. I was encouraged because I would be decreasing the toxic load my body had to handle, but frustrated that I needed to be so careful with products I buy because there is so little regulation into the ingredients that make up cosmetics and other body products.
Using the EWG cosmetic database, I performed a search for 'baby wipes' and the most commonly purchased wipes on the list (such as huggies) rate an 8 out of 10 on their scale of safety, which is 'high hazard'. Some of this hazard rating is attributed to having very little information about the ingredients these companies put in their products. Even a moderate level of safety from products that can damage a developing reproductive system and cause future issues with fertility or cancer is unacceptable; these companies need to demonstrate the safety of their ingredients and products, or at least make their ingredients known.
I recently stumbled across a blog from Wellness Mama where she gives a fantastic recipe for homemade baby wipes. The wipes contain ingredients such as witch hazel, aloe vera, oil, and castille soap (such as Dr. Bronner's), which can be purchased in bulk, and you can use paper towels or make reusable wipes from cloth. There are even suggestions for making cloth wipes for cleaning household items and surfaces... the possibilities are endless! This method not only saves money, but also helps protect your child's long and healthy life :)
This future mother aspires to use cloth diapers and natural, homemade wipes (not all the time, but I am going to try my best!) and I will use this recipe with some of my own preferences mixed in. I may try using coconut oil mostly because I love the smell, but it is also great for soothing, moisturizing and it has antimicrobial, fungal and bacterial properties. Check out Organic Facts for more about the health benefits of coconut oil (I also love to bake with it!).