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Formaldehyde Release From Baby Wipes

Analysis Using the Chromotropic Acid Method

Liou, Yujie Linda, DO*†; Ericson, Marna E., PhD; Warshaw, Erin M., MD*†‡

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000478

Background Formaldehyde is a common preservative and strong sensitizer.

Objective The aim of the study was to evaluate the release of formaldehyde from baby/toddler wet wipes using the chromotropic acid method (CAM).

Methods An online search of best-selling baby wipes was conducted. None declared formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Standard CAM procedures were used: a 1 × 1-in square of fresh wipe was placed in a bottle with an open vial of 4 mg/1 mL of chromotropic acid and sulfuric acid solution, sealed, and stored for 48 hours. Formalin and water served as controls. A blinded investigator graded color change (negative, indeterminate, mild, moderate, or strong). For quality control, 20% of all samples as well as all positives were retested.

Results Fifty-one popular and highly reviewed baby and toddler wet wipe products were tested using CAM. Twelve wipes (24%) released formaldehyde (8 mild, 4 moderate/strong). Chromotropic acid method testing of 9 wipes (18%) was indeterminate and 30 (59%) were negative.

Conclusions Almost one quarter of baby/toddler wet wipes released formaldehyde when evaluated with CAM. Patients and clinicians should be aware of this potentially undeclared source of this common allergen.

From the *Veterans Affairs Medical Center;

Park Nicollet Contact Dermatitis Clinic; and

Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

No reprints available.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2019 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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