Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Monday, March 21, 2011

Okay, Now I'm Pissed Off

I just got around to watching this (excellent) episode of CBC's 'Marketplace' last night on my PVR.

Essentially, the episode reveals that because of a lack of regulation and/or 'definitions' most of the 'Natural' and/or 'Organic' products that are sold here in Canada are anything but.

In fact, many of the 'Natural' products they went through on the episode had almost exactly the same ingredients as that brand's 'Regular' versions.

The difference? Cost. The 'Natural' versions were far more expensive.

And yet, as infuriating as that is, that's not what prompted this post; that's not what really pissed me off.

What REALLY made my blood boil came at the end of the show. You see, the #1 product on their list of 'Lousy Label' products involved more than just a company blatantly lying about their product's 'Natural' or 'Organic' content.

No, in this case, Huggies brand baby wipes -- on the show, Huggies 'Pure & Natural', but as I came to find out, also their 'Soft Skin' wipes -- contain a chemical called Methylisothiazolinone (aka MIT).

This chemical is known as both a Human skin toxicant and a NEUROTOXIN and is also on Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist.

Yes, that's right, it's restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada... but it's okay for use on babies?

Now, wait... let's take a second, breathe.

Maybe I'm over-reacting here... maybe I'm just being an over-protective dad.

I mean, surely this toxic chemical is only present in small doses, right? It can't really be a problem, can it? Health Canada would never allow for this product to be sold here if it was dangerous, right?

And yet I can't shake this thought:

My wife and I have been using the products in question on our son since he was born... and since he was born he's needed his diaper changed around 8 times a day.

I know for a fact that if I had not been told about this ingredient I would've kept on using these products for as long as he needed diapers.

8 wipes a day for, what, a good three years or so? Let's do the math (and, hey, lets bring it down to a conservative 5 changes a day as he ages, etc).

365 days x 5 changes a day x 3 years worth = 5475 wipes.

And that's daily exposure, during his most vulnerable time (skin, neurons, immune system still growing/developing).

You see, I don't know what constitutes a baby's 'safe exposure limit' in regards to MIT... I don't know how long the chemical resides in the skin, or even if it builds up over time in fat or skin cells.

But I also don't care.

This chemical most certainly does not belong in a product that proclaims to be 'Pure & Natural' and it does not belong in any product that comes even remotely close to a baby's skin.

I am beyond pissed with Huggies right now.

I understand that MIT is a powerful biocide and preservative, and I can understand that you'd want to keep mold and bacteria from growing on your wipes -- but are there really NO OTHER, SAFER OPTIONS for use in your baby products?

Can't you figure out some other (Bonus Points: Natural!) chemical that will do a similar job? I mean, seriously, why would you even allow for the possibility of this chemical doing damage to my son's skin (or worse, nervous system)?

Please explain this to me.

Then again...

Now that I think about it, maybe I'm being too harsh on Huggies.

You see, this is my fault too... I have to accept my share of the blame here.

I fell for these sneaky, underhanded tactics.

I allowed myself to trust a brand at face value; I didn't check the label and I allowed myself to be lulled into the idea that because it has the title 'Pure & Natural' that it would actually BE 'Pure & Natural'.

My bad.

Silly, silly consumer, expecting honesty from a brand that I trust(ed).

But no more. This will not stand.

Huggies, if you didn't know that this chemical was harmful (which I highly doubt) then you do now. Take it out of your products.

All of them.


Grocery Alerts Canada said...


saw your link from CBC.

Great points. These corporations need to start being more green and stop greenwashing us.

marsht9 said...

Hi. Your points are well taken. Perhaps it is time for WHMIS labels to be put on everything.
BTW, for a different take on labels, you can listen to my free YouTube folk song called The WHMIS Warble.


Kay said...

I do not trust any "natural" or "green" product produced by ANY multi-national corp - just doesn't seem believable to me.