Share video:Should you flush those ‘flushable wipes?’

A new video from Chemical & Engineering News’s (C&EN’s) Speaking of Chemistry series examines the chemistry underpinning what makes so-called flushable wipes actually flushable. In theory, chemical binders that help hold some wipes together are designed to “deactivate” once the wipes are removed from the wetting solution they come in, they say. As a result, the wipes—sometimes made of synthetic fibers and sometimes of plant-based cellulose ones—should fall apart as they make their way through the sewer system, but a growing number of water and sewer managers disagree. They have alleged in recent years the wipes don’t actually fall apart once they’re flushed—as the companies that make the products claim—leading to pipe clogs that interrupt sewer service and cost money to fix, C&EN reports.
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