Chemical In Baby Wipes Linked To Rise In Skin Problems

Written by Lucinda Curran

4 March 2014

Australian newspaper The Age reported yesterday that a chemical ingredient used as a preservative in baby wipes and other personal care products is being linked to an increase of dermatological conditions.

In her article, Bridie Smith quotes Rosemary Nixon, dermatologist from the Skin and Cancer Foundation, who identifies that methylisthiazolinone (MI) was linked to 11.3% of skin reactions in the 353 patients seen in 2013 at two of their clinics.

The Chemical?

I am sharing this because I think that there is more at play that the isolated preservative methylisothiazolinone. I want to draw your attention to the information contained in the material data safety sheet (MSDS) about this ingredient.

Eye contact – Contact may cause severe eye irritation or chemical burns, which may result in permanent eye injury.

Skin contact – Contact may cause severe burns with symptoms of pain, local redness, swelling, and tissue damage. Prolonged or widespread contact may result in allergic skin reactions. 

Ingestion – These products can be toxic if swallowed. Large amounts may cause serious injury, even death. 

Inhalation – Heated vapor or mist may cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) and lungs. 

Other – Similar materials have not caused cancer, birth defects, or fetal effects in animal testing.

(The Dow Chemical Company, 17 December 2010, Product Safety Assessment: DOW™ Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) Antimicrobial Products available at

Please note that prolonged skin contact can result in allergic skin reactions.

This is the sort of information that I procure when I determine the safety and/or the associated risk of ingredients and products for my clients.What upsets me, is that manufacturers KNOW about these risks of exposure while formulating their products, but choose to use these ingredients anyway.

I am going to also point out, that apart from alcohol, which is drying to the skin, and can damage the integrity of it, and this preservative that is known to cause allergic skin reaction with use over a long period of time, there are other ingredients to be mindful of in these kinds of products.

My #1 RED FLAG Ingredient is “Fragrance”

Fragrance is made up of a cocktail of chemicals that is never listed, in order to protect “trade secrecy” – that is the secret recipe to creating that scent.

Commonly, upwards of 100 chemicals are used to create a fragrance. Of the 10,000+ ingredients used to make fragrances, less than 10% have been tested for the safety for human use. As I have mentioned, due to trade secrecy, manufacturers are not required to list their ingredients for consumers – which makes it hard to avoid certain chemicals.

In an effort to create some transparency, the International Fragrance Association has listed ingredients commonly used in this industry. Scanning through the list, I was alarmed to see the number of known or suspected carcinogens, known skin and lung irritants and others that have been linked to adverse health effects. I have written more about this in a previous post “Perfumes Stink” – which you can read here.


What To Do?

One thing I want to point out is that I have had a significant proportion of my clients report thrush-like symptoms. On my recommendation, they have begun to use UNSCENTED toilet paper. Interestingly, most of these symptoms disappear.

So, for babies to adults, I would highly recommend keeping products simple – particularly in those delicate areas.

  • babies: use water and microfibre cloths
  • children and adults: use unscented toilet paper
  • bathing: unscented and un-dyed natural soaps
  • menstruation: organic cloth pads that can be washed in unscented soap (ie avoid plastic-lined, scented, bleached products)

Join our Group on social media to find out more on a regular basis.


Discover how to WFH without adversely affecting your healthy home.

Working From Home Guide: Boost Health, Productivity & Focus © Eco Health Solutions
dealing with mould

Lucinda Curran is very knowledgeable and thorough and I know I can always rely on her expertise.

I would highly recommend Eco Health Solutions to anyone who cares about their health and environment.

~ Elena

Healthy Homes 101 Checklist © Eco Health Solutions
Meet Lucinda Curran

Meet Lucinda Curran

Founder & Indoor Environmental Health Consultant

After becoming extremely unwell due to environmental stressors, Lucinda set about learning everything she could to empower others to protect their health.

Outside of work, you can find her relaxing with her husband and 2 Skye terriers in nature, and caring for wildlife.


This guide reveals some little-known that are found in many houses.

Claim your FREE copy now >>

EMF 5 little known sources © Eco Health Solutions
Maintaining a Healthy Home (1)
Mould Busting 3 Common Myths cover


Empower yourself and get your FREE copy of this guide to dispel some common myths.

>> FREE Download Here <<

Book a Hidden Hazards Hotline to ask about a product, get advice on next step, find out more about something that is bothering you.

You May Also Like…

Time for New Habits

Time for New Habits

The end of the year is a time when we look to create new habits. We reflect back on the year that we have had. And...