Update: This lawsuit was settled as of May 2018. Read more about the lawsuit here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/target-corporation-up--up-toddler-wipes-class-action-settlement-preliminarily-approved-300638165.html
What are Targetup & up® Brand Flushable Wipes?
Target Corporation’s house brand of flushable wipes, “up & up® flushable toddler and family wipes,” are cotton fiber moistened personal hygiene wipes used for toddlers.
The products packaging states that the flushable wipes are quick to use and easily “disposable."
Are flushable wipes safe for toilets and plumbing?
Target’s up & up® flushable wipes are marketed as a product that “breaks apart after flushing” as well as a “larger wipe with improved flushability.” One can fairly assume that by the company statement, the product is toilet and plumbing safe. However, up & up® Flushable Wipes are in actuality not supposed to be flushed down a toilet.
A standard disintegration test done by Consumer Reports proves that the flushable wipes are not biodegradable. The study showed toilet paper beginning to disperse within 20 seconds of being soaked in water, yet a flushable wipe in the same study was still intact after 12 hours of soaking in water.
Target claim’s that when their product is flushed that the wipes begin to disperse within seconds. As it turns out they are not sewer and septic tank safe, in that they do not break apart after flushing. In fact, these wipes are causing significant damage to household plumbing and septic systems, thereby leaving consumers nationwide with hundreds, even thousands of dollars in repair bills.
Are flushable wipes safe for your city sewer systems?
Flushable wipes have not only been clogging household plumbing across Ohio and the country, but have also created a public health hazard by wreaking havoc on municipal sewer systems. A Cincinnati Business Courier article from September 17 of last year reported that Cincinnati “spends about $100,000 each year to clean wastewater treatment pumps and free them of non-solubles such as baby and wet wipes.” The New York City Department of Environmental Protection also reported that clogs caused by "flushable" wipes are costing the city "$18 million per year for extra disposal," which doesn’t include staff overtime and damaged equipment."
Despite numerous complaints from consumers and wastewater treatment plants nationwide that the company’s flushable wipes are clogging plumbing and septic systems, Target refuses to remove its misrepresentations related to flushability from its product packaging or website. Cities must fend for themselves in protecting their sewer systems. The Wastewater Department of Steubenville, Ohio implemented a public information and education program, called “FLUSH AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!” The program was created to inform people about the risks of flushing non-dispersible items down toilets, “which can lead to serious illness, loss of personal belongings, property damage, and contamination of rivers, creeks, and streams.” Despite the claims against the company, consumers continue to purchase Target’s up & up® flushable wipes, thereby perpetuating and worsening the public safety hazard that their misrepresentations and misleading claims have created.