Formaldehyde release from baby wipes: Analysis using the chromotropic acid method

Yujie Linda Liou, Marna E Ericson, Erin M. Warshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019

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© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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