Issue of November 24, 2019
Mt. Province
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EcoWaste supports proposal to ban wet wipes in Baguio
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

An environmental health advocate backed the pending proposal at the city council, which calls for the ban on the sale of wet wipes in Baguio.

At the recent public consultation on the proposed ban, EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said the measure will protect consumers, particularly babies, who are prone to allergic reactions and other side effects caused by certain chemical preservatives added in wet wipes.

Dizon said substances such as benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, pentylparaben, phenylparaben, and methylisothiazolinone (MIT), if it comes in contact with the skin, may result to allergic contact dermatitis.

Wet wipes are classified as cosmetic by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dizon said 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 a cosmetic product notification so that the FDA can verify the safety of the product before it is sold.

Dizon said using cosmetics without the required notification may pose potential health hazards.

Potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product.

“After a reasonable grace period, the ban on the use of five parabens in cosmetics took effect on Jan. 1, 2016 while the ban on MIT for leave-on cosmetics commenced on Sept. 1, 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.

Dizon said wet wipes containing these banned ingredients are still sold in the market.

Instead of using wet wipes, Dizon suggested using lukewarm water, mild soap and cotton balls for cleaning baby’s bottom and only use wet wipes when water is not available; Read the product label carefully and shun those that include banned ingredients; Reject products that do not list their ingredients and do not have an expiry date; Look for alcohol-free and unscented wet wipes; To cut the chances of an allergy, refrain from using wet wipes for cleaning baby’s hands, mouth and other body parts; and after using wet wipes, rinse with water to get rid of chemical residues and reduce the risk of skin allergies.

He likewise advised consumers not to flush used wet wipes or throw them on streets or canals as these may block the drainage and sewer systems, clog anti-flood pumping stations, ruin wastewater pumps, and aggravate plastic pollution of water bodies and the oceans.

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