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The first time I wrote about Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes was in 2013. They were toxic! They even had formaldehyde in them.
Over 1,000 people would read this blog post a day! And the post would come up on the first page of Google searches before even Costco itself. It still does. That’s probably how you found my blog.
I have a feeling that you want to make sure that the baby wipes you use on your baby are safe but do not have the time to research all these unpronounceable ingredients. I get it. I was in your shoes once.
When I was expecting my son, I wanted the best products for him. And I started researching a baby shampoo. It took me a month to decipher a maze of unpronounceable ingredients and I realized that a simple baby shampoo is not so simple. I also realized that it is up to us consumers to understand how products are made so we can figure if marketing claims are truthful.
Since then, label reading became my full-time occupation and calling. And manufacturers take notice of my blog. Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes were reformulated in 2014 so they aren’t so toxic anymore. But there is more to the story. Read this post to find out what actually happened and how it may affect you and your baby.
New Formula of Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes
Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Disodium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylene Brassylate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate (Source)
What are the Improvements in Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes?
The great news that the super toxic preservatives, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, were replaced with less problematic ones, Phenoxyethanol and Sodium Benzoate. Sodium Benzoate is a food-grade preservative (I do not advocate eating food with preservatives though); Phenoxyethanol is not on my list of the safest preservatives (rated 4 out of 10 by the EWG) but it is a big improvement from formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
As for the ingredients treated with ethylene oxide, one of them, PEG-75 Lanolin, is gone and the other, Polysorbate 20, remains. Let’s hope that there is no 1,4-dioxane contamination in the Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes. I personally do not like to take chances, especially when it comes to the health of my baby.
And lastly, the great news is that Propylene Glycol has been removed from the Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes.
Conclusion about the new Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes
There are big improvements in the new formula over the old one – no more carcinogenic formaldehyde, less potential exposure to carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane, and no more potentially skin irritating propylene glycol. While I am happy about these major improvements, Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes are not at the top of the list of baby wipes I recommend, just yet. I believe there are safer alternatives for polysorbate 20 and phenoxyethanol.
Costco also carries Moist Flushable Wipes
They were reformulated in 2015. Here is a list of new ingredients:
Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Disodium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate (Source)
2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, a formaldehyde-releasing preservatives was replaced (Yay!!!) with Phenoxyethanol and Sodium Benzoate. You can see these preservatives at the end of the list. Formaldehyde has been classified as a carcinogen and may irritate the skin so this is a big improvement! Maybe the people at Costco read this blog; after all, it does come up just after their page when you Google “Kirkland Baby Wipes” . . . . (And if they do, a note: please keep up the good work with all of the organic food you stock, and keep investing in organic farming!)
Is phenoxyethanol safe?
Before we talk about the safety of preservatives, keep in mind that preservatives are necessary in disposable baby wipes because they keep our babies safe from dangerous bacteria. In my Baby Wipes Rating List, I noted which disposable baby wipes that either do not have sufficient preservatives or which do not disclose the preservatives used.
The FDA has issued warnings revealing that the ingestion of phenoxyethanol can be toxic and harmful for infants. Accidental ingestion can produce depression of the central nervous system and lead to the occurrence of diarrhea and vomiting (source). So make sure that your baby does not put the baby wipes in her mouth, and that you don’t use them to wipe her hands if she is a finger-sucker.
Phenoxyethanol is rated 4 out of 10 in the Skin Deep database; it appears to cause contact allergy only in rare occasions; the data is limited on it, meaning there may be other issues associated with it that we simply don’t know about (or, it might otherwise be fine – that’s the problem with ingredients with limited data; we just don’t know)
Is sodium benzoate safe?
It is rated 3 out of 10 in the Skin Deep database, and is a food-grade preservative (I do not advocate eating food with preservatives though); however, when reacted with ascorbic acid, it may produce carcinogenic benzene. Sodium benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. According to LotionCrafter, it is soluble in water where it converts to benzoic acid, which is listed in the Endocrine Disruption Exchange database. However, it appears there is only one study associated benzoic acid with endocrine disruption, so more needs to be known.
A big no-no
There is fragrance, which is a big no-no too. In the US, there is no regulation requiring that companies disclose the ingredients of the fragrance mixes they use. (Companies don’t disclose them, either, as being trade secrets.) Independent researchers have concluded that fragrance mixes, among other toxic chemicals, normally contain diethyl phthalate, a chemical that may disrupt the normal function of the hormone system. Again, tiny amounts here and there do add up. And babies are vulnerable. Their detox system is not fully developed.
Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential harms to the reproductive system. So please, Costco, if you’re reading this, please don’t use fragrance in your wipes (or anything else).
In conclusion, Costco continues to make improvements to its wipes, but there is still some ground work to be made up.
Final Words About Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes and Other Baby Wipes
A lot of baby wipes include chemicals to which you would not want to expose your baby on a daily basis multiple times. Tiny amounts accumulate. A lot of chemicals are not tested for safety and chemical interactions are not tested at all. I’ve read ingredients of almost all baby wipes on the market and concluded that there is not anything better than organic cotton cloth, water, and castile soap. That saves a lot of money too!
Here is a list of my other baby wipes posts