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Don’t Flush Wipes Down the Toilet!

California’s AB 1672 will require manufacturers to have clear labeling on flushable and non-flushable wipes.

Updated 9/1/2020

The legislative session ended at midnight on August 31, 2020. Unfortunately, AB 1672 was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee and did not pass. 

Due to COVID-19, there has been a significant increase in the number of people using wipes and other products, then throwing them in the toilet leading to clogs in sewer systems throughout the nation. This matters because flushing products other than toilet paper can cause our sewers and wastewater treatment systems to fail.  These failures can result in discharges of raw and partially treated sewage into our coastal watersheds polluting local waterways and putting public health at risk at the beach. Many of these products also contain plastic fibers that can break down into microplastics and ultimately end up in the environment since sanitation facilities cannot remove them. 

AB 1672 introduced by Assemblymember Bloom establishes “flushability” criteria for nonwoven disposable products and requires non-flushable labels on nonwoven disposable products that do not meet the criteria. The bill prescribes clear and consistent consumer messaging for these products about whether or not a wipe is 'flushable' using a high contrast font, standardized label, and label location.

Voluntary labeling is not working - inconsistencies and mislabeling of products have led to confusion between flushable and non-flushable wipes. Non-flushable products do not break down in the sewer system and can clog pipes and pumps.  These masses created in sewer pipes can cause overflows, backups, and equipment failure causing public and worker health risks, environmental degradation, and costly repairs to equipment that fall on the ratepayers. Wipes are among the leading causes of clogs and many spills go to our lakes, rivers, and oceans where they negatively impact our public health and environment.

Let’s work together to stop clogs in our sewer systems that pollute our local waterways and beaches! We urge California residents to take action and contact your legislators letting them know that they should vote for AB1672.

Plastic Pollution