FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Wet Wipe Manufacturer to Substantiate “Flushability” Advertising Claims

For Your Information

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order with Nice-Pak Products, Inc., requiring it to stop advertising moist toilet tissue and cloth as flushable or safe for sewer or septic systems unless it can substantiate those claims.

According to the FTC’s May 2015 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 alleged Nice-Pak provided the means and instrumentalities for retailers and others that marketed the product under their own label to make similar misrepresentations.

The final order settling the complaint prohibits Nice-Pak from misrepresenting that any wipe is safe to flush, unless it can substantiate that the wipe will disperse in a sufficiently short amount of time after flushing to prevent clogging and/or damage to household plumbing, sewage lines, septic systems, and other standard wastewater treatment equipment.

Specifically, the substantiation must be based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area and have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Those tests must substantially replicate the physical conditions of the claimed environment in which the item can be properly disposed.

Nice-Pak also is prohibited from making representations about any benefits, performance, or efficacy of moist toilet tissue, unless the statements are not misleading and the company relies on competent and reliable evidence.

The Commission vote approving the final order and 37 responses to public commenters was 4-0. (FTC File No. 132-3272; the staff contact is Sylvia Kundig, FTC Western Region Office, San Francisco, 415-848-5188.)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180