According to WGME, doctors have discovered that several popular cleaning wipes could be causing allergic reactions owing to a new preservative. Known as methylisothiazolinone, or MI, the preservative is found in multiple water-based products, including baby care products, makeup removal wipes, liquid soaps, laundry and more. The wipe can cause painful breakouts to occur on the skin, which will look like the diaper rashes babies get.
Dr. Matthew Zirwas, of the OSU-Wexner Medical Center, says that, “They have to keep coming up with new preservatives. This was a new one that was developed, they thought that it was going to be very safe and it was only after it started to be used a lot that we find out that this was probably the worst preservative that we’ve seen.”
Many changes to preservatives have occurred over the last few years, and many companies use greater concentrations of them than ever before — the level of MI in particular has increased 25 times over the last several years.
Zirwas adds that this is not a new development — doctors have seen an increase in the number of people experiencing the blistery rashes, and “for some patients, their rash has been unexplained and going on for years.” It wasn’t until recently that a link was established between the chemical preservative and skin reactions.
One mother, Julie Omiatek, was plagued by the painful blisters for over a year; “The rash was driving me crazy,” she says. Finally, after meticulously documenting everything she touched, Ohio State University’s contact dermatitis clinic determined the cause was the baby wipes she was using for her children. Her case helped Zirwas realize what was happening.
If someone suspects that they have an allergy to these products, it’s necessary that they stop using them for at least a month — rashes can persist for a week or two without contact.
Although there is no move yet to remove methylisothiazolinone from commonly used products, manufacturers are making an attempt to develop suitable, less-reaction inducing alternatives.