Group backs wet wipes ban

A BAN on toxic wet wipes is being backed.

In a public consultation last week, EcoWaste Coalition (a non-government organization) said the proposed ordinance will be able to protect consumers, most especially babies who are prone to allergic reactions and side effects caused by chemical preservatives banned in wet wipes.

Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, said: "Adopting and enforcing the ordinance will hopefully stop the sale in Baguio City of these non-compliant wet wipes that could put the health of babies at risk."

In his presentation before the consultation participants, Dizon explained that wet wipes for cleansing or moisturizing the skin such as baby wipes are regulated as cosmetics by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The proposed ordinance was filed by Baguio City Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan. It has elicited support among environmental health advocates while the public consultation was convened by the Committee on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture chaired by Councilor Philian Weygan Allan.

Under Republic Act 9711, or the FDA Act of 2009, manufacturers, importers, distributors and sellers of cosmetic products, including wet wipes, are required to file the necessary cosmetic product notification so that the agency can perform quality and safety verification before the product is sold in the market, Dizon said.

Among the ingredients not allowed in wet wipes as per the Asean Cosmetic Directive are chemical preservatives such as Benzylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Pentylparaben, Phenylparaben, and Methylisothiazolinone.

"After a reasonable grace period, the ban on the use of five parabens in cosmetics took effect on January 1, 2016. while the ban on MIT for leave-on cosmetics commenced on 1 September 2018," said Dizon.

Manufacturers, importers and distributors of wet wipes containing banned ingredients are required by law to recall their products by the end of the grace period.

Using cosmetics without the required notification "may pose potential health hazards," according to the FDA, adding "potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product."

Dizon concluded his presentation by offering the following practical tips to prevent children's exposure to known skin sensitizers.

a. Use lukewarm water, mild soap and cotton balls for cleaning baby's bottom and only use wet wipes when water is not available.

b. Read the product label carefully and shun those that include banned ingredients.

c. Reject products that do not list their ingredients and do not have an expiry date.

d. Look for alcohol-free and unscented wet wipes.

e. To cut the chances of an allergy, refrain from using wet wipes for cleaning baby's hands, mouth and other body parts.

f. After using wet wipes, rinse with water to get rid of chemical residues and reduce the risk of skin allergies.


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