Does A Safe, Non-Toxic Toddler Flushable Wipe Exist?

Now that we’ve transitioned from diapers to the potty, we were looking for natural, chlorine-free and alcohol-free flushable wipes. There are a number of flushable wipes brands on the market such as Pampers Kandoo, Huggies Pull Up Flushable Wipes and Target Up & Up but these contain a host of chemicals that we were looking to avoid.  There were only two brands made from more “natural” ingredients – Nature Babycare and Earths Best.  However, both of these products contain Sodium Benzoate and Citric Acid which can react to form Benzene, a known human carcinogen!

I contacted both manufacturers to request information on testing results for Benzene.  Nature Babycare responded back that benzene formation is generally found in the beverage industry and is therefore not tested in the cosmetics industry. It is important to note that Seventh Generation has performed testing on their baby wipes (they do not offer flushable wipes) and has not found any traces of benzene so there has been voluntary testing performed within the cosmetics industry!   Per the Seventh Generation website:

Some studies conducted by the soft drink industry show that sodium benzoate in the presence of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and heat can react to form benzene, a known human carcinogen. Benzene can also be formed when sodium benzoate is in the presence of citric acid and heat, but to a much lesser degree. Because some of our formulas contain sodium benzoate and citric acid, we conduct thorough testing to determine if benzene is being formed in products that contain both ingredients. The results of these tests show that there is no detectable benzene in Seventh Generation for the Wee Generation Baby Personal Care products that contain both sodium benzoate and citric acid.

I was shocked to see that even though the “natural” flushable wipes avoided fragrance, alcohol and chlorine, the manufacturers listed below are not able to confirm that their products are benzene-free!  Even though we have decided to forgo the convenience of flushable wipes, I have still listed the information on both products that I found for reference below.

Update as of February 2014:   As outlined above, I contacted Naty customer service back last spring concerned that their toddler flushable wipes contained sodium benzoate and citric acid. These two substances can react to form Benzene, which is a known human carcinogen. It’s been a year now and Naty has responded back that they have changed their formulation and beginning in the 2nd half of this year, their flushable wipes will no longer contain citric acid!

Nature Babycare Toddler Flushable Wipes

Nature Babycare Wipes are made from unbleached wood pulp and are moistened with purified water and natural aloe vera. They are also 100% chlorine free. Note that the older formulation was alcohol-free when I was looking for wipes and now it contains benzyl alcohol which is listed with a toxicity rating of 5 on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. The packaging is based on natural chalk and is 100% compostable.

The ingredients are as follows: Water (aqua), glycerin, panthenol, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyhexyglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.

The updated ingredients are as follows: Aqua( Water), Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Citric Acid, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.
Note: Ingredients will be updated with new formulation in the 2nd half of 2014 when they will no longer contain citric acid! 

Note that these flushable wipes were not listed on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, but their baby wipes (fragrance-free) had a rating of 2.

 

Earths Best TenderCare TOTS Chlorine Free Flushable Wipes

The Earths Best Tendercare flushable wipesare 100% chlorine and alcohol-free. Their packaging contains a plastic flip top which is not the most environmentally friendly option and has gotten bad reviews on being wasteful as it is difficult to pull a single wipe out at a time. It is difficult to pull out one wipe at a time from any of these packages, no matter the brand!

The ingredients are as follows: Water, glycerin, coco-glucoside, tocopherol, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, gluconolactone and sodium benzoate, dehydroacetic acid, citric acid, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract

The Earths Best flushable wipes were not listed on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database either, but their baby wipes had a rating of 1. EWG did note that there was a Formaldehyde contamination concern with the ingredient Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate in their baby wipes but this ingredient is not present in the TOTS flushable wipe.


2-3 Years, Skin Care , , , , , ,

8 comments


  1. WX

    Alcohol IS natural, it’s what sugars naturally break down into. Alcohol isn’t a problem because it’s poisonous, it’s a problem because its potentially drying, possibly irritating, and painful on broken skin.

    If you are looking for the ultimate non-toxic chemical free, why not just use water on homemade wipes?

  2. happytotmom

    I don’t believe I said that alcohol was poisonous – I just avoid it in our products as it is a skin irritant and is not a necessary ingredient. I was looking for the convenience of packaged wipes to take and go, especially during potty training. As mentioned in the post, I decided not to use any of the commercially available products as I wasn’t comfortable with some of the ingredients. I did end up using simply water when available which I agree is the most natural/non-toxic option, but baby/toddler wipes work for all situations including when a working sink isn’t available (such as certain park and beach bathrooms I’ve been in!)

  3. Christina Ridge

    The Nature BabyCare Toddler wipes do have alcohol. The link you provided has a picture of the ingredients and it has benzyl alcohol listed. Also, the ingredients are listed right there on Amazon.

    Ingredients
    Aqua( Water), Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Citric Acid, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice

  4. happytotmom

    Thanks for the information Christina! Looks like the formulation may have changed as the description on both their website and amazon indicates that they are alcohol free. I will email them as their ingredient listing and product descriptions are out of sync and will update the post accordingly!
    http://www.naty.com/wipes/eco-sensitive-wipes-toilet-training/

  5. Danielle Kroll

    What so you think of the Babyganics Flushable Wipes? I do see alcohol listed…

    thanks!

    Ingredients:
    water, cetearyl isononanoate, ceteareth-20, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, vegetable glycerin, ceteareth-12, cetyl palmitate, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol

  6. happytotmom

    Hi Danielle,

    Thanks for posting! I hadn’t come across Babyganics Flushable Wipes back when I needed them and they look like a relatively new product (all reviews seem to be within the last few months). EWG rates these a 2 but if you take a look at the details behind their rating (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/514875/BabyGanics_Flushable_Wipes%2C_Fragrance_Free/), the ingredients of concern are CETEARETH-20 and CETEARETH-12. Ceteareths may contain 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide – both possible human carcinogens. Tide agreed to reformulate their product to reduce amounts of 1,4 dioxane after numerous groups pressured them to do so (http://www.ewg.org/release/procter-gamble-agrees-reduce-carcinogen-tide). Although a rating of 2 on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is not indicative of a high level of toxicity, I would be concerned with the presence of CETEARETH-20 and CETEARETH-12.

  7. misty

    so i just looked at Naty ingredients on their website and it still contains both of the ingredients you listed. we had been using babyganic and i was wondering if you have found any flushable wipes that are okay…. we use cloth wipes at home but find it easier to have a flushable when out. thanks!!!!!

  8. happytotmom

    I have contacted Naty’s customer service team again as they indicated that their formulation would be changed in 2015 but have not heard back. I will update the post accordingly once I do. In the meantime, I have not found a flushable wipe free of both sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid.

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