Sunday, January 25th4.8°C
24779
24105

Canada leading international effort to develop standards for 'flushable wipes'

OTTAWA - Canada is leading an international work group to come up with an industry-wide standard for so-called flushable wipes as waste-water experts in North America and beyond blame the personal towelettes for a host of sewage system problems.

Barry Orr, a waste-water official in London, Ont., is among the Canadians leading the Geneva-based International Standards Organization's efforts to develop the standard.

Orr is currently developing tests that will determine the flushability of a barrage of products on the market that declare themselves sewer- and septic-safe.

"Canada is at the forefront in addressing the flushability of these products," Orr, who has been raising alarms bells about the products for years, said in a recent interview.

"We're leading the ISO, and we're working with nations across the globe to make improvements."

Flushable wipes are a multibillion-dollar business.

But from Louisiana to southwestern Ontario and rural England, plumbers and waste-water experts say the pre-moistened wipes, branded as a cleaner alternative to toilet paper, are taking a terrible toll on residential pipes and municipal sewage systems, causing major clogs and sewer backups.

Just last month, officials in the Minnesota town of Cambridge said they suspected personal wipes were the culprit after 20,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into a river after a backup at a waste-water treatment facility.

The manufacturers, meantime, say their products are accurately labelled as safe to go down the toilet, and have been subjected to a litany of flushability tests. It's products that aren't meant to be flushed — including baby wipes and feminine hygiene products — that are causing municipalities trouble, they say.

The companies are pushing for a joint education and awareness campaign, together with environmental agencies, that would alert people about the dangers of flushing products that weren't meant to go down the toilet.

South of the border, however, the Federal Trade Commission has been looking into the manufacturers' claims that the wipes are flushable. An official at Canada's Competition Bureau, meantime, says he "cannot confirm whether or not we are currently looking into this matter."

In recent weeks, several American communities have pleaded with citizens to stop flushing the wipes.

"When you flush them, coming to the wastewater plant, they don't degrade in a timely manner so they clog up the system," said an official in Lake Charles, La.

A California woman has also launched a class-action lawsuit against Kimberly Clark, maker of Cottonelle Fresh Care personal wipes, claiming she paid a premium for a product that advertises itself as safe to flush but is not.

The ISO is a global standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. The Standards Council of Canada says it's "supporting the participation of Canadian key subject matter experts in international standardization activities."

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter @leeanne25

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

24910


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14779.35+15.369
S&P CDNX678.18-0.79
DJIA17672.60-141.38
Nasdaq4757.879+7.481
S&P 5002051.82-11.33
CDN Dollar0.8032-0.0007
Gold1292.60-2.00
Oil46.35-2.34
Lumber311.50+6.50
Natural Gas2.986+0.132

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.115-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.38+0.06
Cantex0.035+0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.1810.00
Metalex Ventures0.040.00
Russel Metals24.48+0.32
Copper Mountain Mining1.10-0.02
Colorado Resources0.155+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.006+0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.055+0.03
Mission Ready Services0.22+0.02

 



23015

FEATURED Property
19921042287 Selkirk Drive
4 bedrooms 3 baths
$639,900
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


How to price: workbook approach

In 2008 Self Counsel Press published my book - Pricing Strategies for Small Business. The book is now available in Europe, India, Russia and the United States. The purpose of the book was to make avai...


Ailing Parents: Tax Issues

If your parent has become ill, there can be several tax issues that come into play depending on the nature of their illness, their age and the role that family members are playing. For example, if you...


What do I pay ICBC for anyway?

If you have had ongoing dealings with ICBC as a result of a car accident than you have likely had the pleasure of dealing with at least two sides of ICBC. Initially the relationship starts off pleasan...

_



24709




Member of BC Press Council


24598