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What Are the Dangers of Clorox Wipes to Children?

Disposable cleaning and disinfecting wipes provide an alternative to sponges that can spread germs.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are disposable cleaning cloths pre-moistened with an antibacterial solution. Clorox markets these wipes as an easy solution for cleaning and disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces in the household, the classroom, the workplace, and on the go. However, some individuals have raised concerns over the chemicals used in these wipes, claiming that they may pose hazards to children.

Clorox's Position

Like most other cleaning products, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes' label states "Keep out of reach of children." When using a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe to clean high chairs, toys, and other children's products, Clorox recommends rinsing the item with water after cleaning it with the wipe. This is because the ingredients in these cleaning wipes should not be ingested, but small children have a habit of putting everything in their mouths. However, Clorox maintains that its products are safe for all household members when consumers follow the label directions.

Counterpoint

On the other hand, Dr. Gideon Koren of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada points out that when manufacturers test their products for safety, they often do not take the unique needs of small children into account. "Everything goes into their mouths and they virtually live on the floor," says Dr. Koren. In addition, children's internal body systems are not fully developed. This means that not only will they come into contact with more chemicals than an adult would living in the same household, but their bodies will be less equipped to metabolize those chemicals.

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The Verdict?

The disinfectants in Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which determines a product can be allowed in the marketplace if it does its job "without unreasonable adverse effects on the environment or the public health." This means that the appropriate regulatory agency of the U.S. government recognizes that these wipes are safe for children when used in accordance with the label.

Alternatives to Clorox Wipes

Some consumers may still be a bit wary of using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. You may want to reduce your family's overall exposure to chemicals or you may simply want to use a "greener" product with less waste. If this describes you, there are alternatives to using cleaning wipes. For cleaning and sanitizing hard plastic items, including baby toys, put them in the top rack of the dishwasher. You can also use a 50:50 mix of water and white vinegar to clean and sanitize toys and household surfaces.