New York man sues makers of 'flushable' wipes

March 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM
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NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- A New York dentist is suing the makers of moistened wipes advertised as flushable after the wipes allegedly clogged his pipes.

Dr. Joseph Kurtz, 35, filed a class action lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court against the makers of Cottonelle and Costco-brand wipes, alleging he racked up $600 in plumbers' fees to unclog the pipes at his New York and New Jersey homes as a result of disposing of the "flushable" wipes down his toilets, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

"They do not break down as manufacturers advertise," the lawsuit says of the wipes.

Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection said the department spends about $18 million per year to clear debris from machinery at its 14 waste-water treatment plants, and in recent years the vast majority of the debris has been flushable wipes.

"The increase in clogs and problems we've been having in New York City -- it seems to almost correlate directly with the increase in sales of these flushable wipes," Sapienza said. "They make it all the way to the plant and they just wrap themselves around our equipment."

A spokesman for Kimberly-Clark Corp., the manufacturers of Cottonelle products, released a statement in response to the allegations.

"Kimberly-Clark has an extensive testing process to ensure that our flushable wipes products meet or exceed all industry guidelines and we stand behind our claims of flushability," the spokesman said.

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