My daughters have been bringing in school supplies every Fall for the past 8 years. Every school supply list has included antibacterial wipes.
As an environmentalist and a concerned mom, I dread buying wipes and their use around children. Yes, I was concerned for my girls and their health, but I know that the ingredients in wipes are even more concerning for children with asthma. Most antibacterial wipes include fragrance which may exacerbate pre-existing asthma and respiratory issues. They also often include alkyl dimethyl benzyl or ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride and other “quats” which are asthmagens, meaning they are causally-related to the development of asthma.
National statistics tell us that one in 12 children have asthma. Which means there are potentially two to three children in every classroom with asthma (depending on the number of children in the class). Statewide statistics where we live in Washington, are even higher, and asthma is commonly thought to be underreported.
I remember last spring when I dove deep into the science around disinfectant wipes. I was so concerned with what I learned that I emailed my daughter's teacher and shared the science with her. In many classrooms, teachers hand out a wipe to each child and the children wipe down their desks. The label of the most common wipes brand clearly states that you should wash your hands after use. They also note that the surfaces that come into contact with food should be washed with water after using the wipe - doesn’t this take away the convenience of a wipe in the first place!?!
Not to mention, in Washington, our state Department of Health’s “Guidance for Healthy Classrooms” recommends baby wipes over disinfectant wipes.
So this school year I’m on a “Safer Wipes” Mission. I will be bringing in baby wipes instead of the “disinfectant wipes” requested on the school supply list. I will also be sharing the document below with the teacher and principal.
I wish that teachers used reusable microfiber cloths instead of one-use products like disposable wipes. But some classrooms don’t have running water and reusable cloths would need to be washed.
Let’s face it. Being a teacher is a tough job as it is. I’m not going to add unnecessary work to their plate. So for the time being I’ll be bringing in disposable baby wipes like these from Eco by Naty or Seventh Generation.
I hope you’ll join me in the “Safer Wipes Mission”!
Please share this post and click the link below to get my Safe Wipes Printout to share with your kids’ teachers and administrators!