Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?

People who want that fresh feeling after wiping their behinds have increasingly been relying on flushable wipes. But sewer managers and homeowners have been crying foul—literally–as more and more pipes get clogged. Are flushable wipes to blame?

In this episode of Speaking of Chemistry, Lauren Wolf explains that, even though flushable wipes are molecularly designed to break down in sewers, the answer’s complicated.


If this episode leaves you itching for more toilet talk, check out the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

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Wet Wipes Clog Sewer Systems
Issue Date: May 11, 2015

Wet Wipe Maker Agrees To Substantiate flushable Claims
Issue Date: May 25, 2015

The Dirty Little Secrets Of Toilet Paper
Published: Aug. 27, 2015

U.K.’s Biggest “Fatberg” Discovered In London Sewer
Published: July 30, 2013

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