Recently, the media has reported about the increase incidence of firefighters and cancer, in particular skin cancer. These reports target soot as a carcinogenic agent. Although firefighters wear protective clothing when battle fires, soot has been shown to enter gaps in the clothing and thus reaching various parts of the skin.
There have also been reports that “wet wipes” can be a way to remove this soot from the skin. With that said, one of our competitors have jumped on this marketing bandwagon to promote their pre-moistened towelette brands to service the firefighters in this country. In doing so, they have come very close to implying that their brand can prevent cancer by using their wipes. In addition, they attempt to down grade other wet wipe brands in stating that only their specific wipe formulation can help firefighters remove the carcinogenic soot from their skin. When in fact, any pre-moistened wipe can remove soot. Unfortunately, Body Wipe Company’s Paper Shower has been mentioned as one of these brands, but we have never made this claim, nor marketed directly to firefighters. In fact, each time that we have been approached by various fire departments across this country, we have been adamant in explaining that although our wipes will remove soot from the skin, there is absolutely no scientific correlation to a possible reduction in cancer among firefighters from using our wipes.
When it comes to the actual proof that wet wipes can reduce or prevent cancer, randomized clinical trials need to be performed to assess various wet wipes vs. other possible remedies and then scientifically evaluate these products to determine if in fact they do prevent or reduce cancer among the US firefighter population. Until such clinical research has been reported in the literature, the wet wipe “cancer prevention or reduction” claims by removing soot from the skin is just anecdotal.