Wipes Manufacturer Settles with FTC Over Flushability Claims

Nice-Pak Products, which produces disposable wipes under several store-brand labels, has agreed to cease making flushability marketing claims.
Wipes Manufacturer Settles with FTC Over Flushability Claims

Under an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, wipes manufacturer Nice-Pak Products, which produces wipes under Costco, CVS and Target private labels, has agreed to stop advertising moist toilet tissue as “flushable.” According to a statement released by the FTC on May 18, Nice-Pak may not advertise the wipes as safe for sewer and septic tanks unless it has substantiation for those claims.

“The evidence didn’t back up Nice-Pak’s claims that their wipes were safe to flush,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If you claim a product is flushable, it needs to flush in the real world, without clogging household plumbing or sewer and septic systems.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, Nice-Pak violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting that a certain formulation of its wipes: 1) are safe for sewer systems; 2) are safe for septic systems; 3) break apart shortly after being flushed; and 4) are safe to flush. The FTC also alleges Nice-Pak provided the means and instrumentalities for retailers and others that marketed the product under their own label to make similar misrepresentations. The company’s tests did not reflect real-world household plumbing or septic conditions, the FTC alleged.

The FTC will publish the agreement, which is open to public comment through June 19, 2015.

Nice-Pak Products is also named in a class-action lawsuit brought by the City of Wyoming, Minnesota, against six manufacturers of flushable wipes. That lawsuit alleges the manufacturers knowingly marketed and distributed wipes as flushable, when in reality the wipes can cause severe problems to private wastewater drainpipes, municipal sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants.

That lawsuit seeks financial restitution to members of the class-action lawsuit as well as a declaration from the named companies that the wipes in question are not flushable.

Soure: FTC press release


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