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Wet wipe maker agrees to roll back flushing claims

Maybe those wet wipes weren't meant to be flushed. (Tweet this)

Nice-Pak, which makes a variety of personal wipes, has agreed to stop advertising that some products are safe to flush, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday. Under the FTC settlement, Nice-Pak cannot assert the wipes are suitable for sewer and septic systems without substantiation under threat of civil penalty.

The FTC alleges that Nice-Pak misrepresented certain products by claiming they would break up shortly after flushing.

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

Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection

Costco, CVS, Target and BJ's Wholesale Club are among the retailers that sold the wipes, the FTC said. Nice-Pak provided the means for vendors to make similar false assertions, the agency added.

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In a statement, Nice-Pak said the products in question were discontinued last year. The current "flushable" wipes are substantiated as safe to flush and the FTC did not require changes to existing claims, the company said.

"Nice-Pak entered into a voluntary Consent Agreement with the FTC regarding certain wipe products labeled as flushable. While the products that were the focus of the FTC's inquiry at all times were subject to extensive testing on flushability, we are pleased to bring a resolution to this matter in an amicable manner," the company said.