Regulating Wet Wipes

[Anchor Lead]

Wet Wipe products sold these days are mostly advertised as not containing any harmful ingredients and therefore having no ill effects on the skin. Even if these claims are exaggerated or false, it’s known that there is no way to prove this is the case based on current regulations.


Wet wipes are widely used here in daily life. Amid the flood of advertisements claiming that wet wipes do not irritate the skin, wipes are commonly used for babies and infants who particularly have sensitive skin. An experiment was conducted using a similar method for testing the toxicity of cosmetics. Minnow fish are released in water containing squeezed extracts of wet wipes. The fish died in just 2 to 3 minutes. Their skin peeled off and also changed color.

[Soundbite] (Skin Testing Expert) : “Mucous membranes of the fish skin have melted due to the wipes’ chemical substances.”

There is no way for consumers to really know if the wipes are indeed “without stimulating effects” as they are advertised. The manufacturers put out these ads that also include claims that they’re products are chemical-free based on results of tests they commission to private testing agencies. But there are no regulations prompting the government to monitor these agencies or their test results. Even if the test results are fabricated or exaggerated, it is difficult to know.

[Soundbite] Rep. Sung Il-jong(Nat’l Assembly Health & Welfare Committee) : “Wipes with unverified claims of their effects are being circulated and are luring in consumers. Proper oversight is urgently called for.”

In order to remove this blind spot in the oversight of Wet Wipe products, lawmakers are in the process of introducing a bill that calls for state designation of testing agencies whose testing results will only be recognized as legitimate in advertisements.

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