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Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes contain a formaldehyde-releasing preservative called 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, which may cause contact allergy in some babies. The typical symptoms of contact allergy include redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters.
Why are there preservatives in baby wipes?
All baby wipes have to contain preservatives because they all contain water. And water is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold to grow, especially when you open a package and introduce air and new bacteria.
The back story
When I first started blogging, which was 5 years ago, one of my first posts was about Costco’s brand of baby wipes called Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes. Back then, Costco baby wipes contained a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. And Costco was not alone using these potentially harmful formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
Since I started reviewing all major baby wipes every year and publishing my findings in the Baby Wipes Rating List, I noticed that a lot of baby wipes have been reformulated to remove formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Unfortunately, Target Up & Up baby wipes have not done so yet. In fact, in my 2018 Baby Wipes Rating List, Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes are the only ones that have a formaldehyde releaser. Shame on you, Target!
How does the formaldehyde releaser 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol work?
2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol is an antimicrobial preservative that works by gradually releasing formaldehyde into the baby wipes. People exposed to such formaldehyde-releasing ingredients may develop a formaldehyde allergy or an allergy to 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol itself (source).
Both formaldehyde and 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol are listed in the American Contact Dermatitis Society Core Allergen Series as allergens.
The typical symptoms of contact allergy are redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters. This is important, to know, because it may take several days for the symptoms to appear (source).
2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol is rated 7-9 (depending on use) out of 10 (10 being most toxic) in the Skin Deep database powered by the Environmental Working Group.
And the other preservative in Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes Ingredients is problematic.
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC) is a preservative that has been used for years in water-based paints, metal-working fluids and as a wood preservative. More recently it has been used as a preservative in cosmetics.
Although IPBC has claimed to be safe when used at concentrations less than 0.1%, its widespread use in cosmetic and personal care products has led to an increased number of cases of IPBC-induced contact allergy. (source: DermNet New Zealand)
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is rated 4-6 (depending on use) out of 10 (10 being most toxic) in the Skin Deep database powered by the Environmental Working Group.
Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes Ingredients
Here is a full list of ingredients that I accessed in January of 2018 on the Target website:
Water, Propylene Glycol, PEG-75 Lanolin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower (Chamomile) Extract, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Disodium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
Propylene Glycol: a type of alcohol and has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. It is listed in the American Contact Dermatitis Society Core Allergen Series as an allergen, but in a very high concentration of 30%, meaning that in small amounts it is probably okay. I do not have information as to how much of it is used in the Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes.
PEG-75 Lanolin: a chemically-modified form of lanolin, a fat-like sebaceous secretion of sheep. It is produced by using carcinogenic ethylene oxide, which may contaminate the final product with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. (Learn how to spot ingredients that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, even though it is not listed as an ingredient, here.)
Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract: a beneficial ingredient for the skin.
Polysorbate 20: It is an emulsifier, which is a substance that keeps ingredients from separating. It is produced by using carcinogenic ethylene oxide, which may contaminate the final product with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. (Again, learn how to spot ingredients that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane here.)
Citric Acid: in big amounts, it would be very irritating to the skin. My understanding is that in baby wipes, it is used in tiny quantities to adjust the pH.
Disodium Phosphate: an inorganic salt and you might have seen it listed in food ingredients. It is rated 1 out 10 (1 least toxic) in the Skin Deep database.
Disodium EDTA: while this chemical is safe, it increases skin absorption though, which means that if there are any contaminants that we talked about earlier, their absorption will be increased.
Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes Cloth
In my Baby Wipes Rating List, I rate baby wipes based on their ingredients and the baby wipe cloth itself because the cloth may irritate the baby’s skin, too.
By law, manufacturers are not required to disclose what the baby wipe cloth is made of, so we do not always have access to that information. A lot of baby wipes are made of polypropylene, which is the type of plastic.
I do not have much information as to what the cloth of the Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes are made of, except that what it says on the website, “Cotton Fiber.” Let’s hope that it is 100% cotton but it might not be. (Ideally, Target, if you are reading this, it should be organic cotton.)
Conclusion about Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes
In my opinion, these Target Up & Up Sensitive Skin Baby Wipes are not safe. And I would not use them on my baby or somebody’s else baby. Luckily, there are a lot of better options out there. Please check out my Baby Wipes Rating List that includes 35 other baby wipes.
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