IPS Provides Flushability Testing


APPLETON, WI | IPS Testing, serving multiple industries across the US and internationally as an independent testing laboratory, has achieved ISO 17025 accreditation for its flushability testing services.

The lab reports it is the first independent lab in North America to offer all seven industry-initiated testing standards as outlined under the recently streamlined and updated Flushability Guidelines. These guidelines have been set forth by the Assn. of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and its European Disposables and Nonwovens Assn. (EDANA) affiliate.

“The industry gold standard is ISO certification, and IPS Testing is proud to be recognized as an industry leader for providing full flushability testing services to wipes product manufacturers,” says IPS VP Chris Reitmeyer. “While some companies complete their own internal product testing, no other lab in the world besides IPS has been certified by an independent third party and granted this ISO accreditation.”

With the end goal of determining which wipes are truly flushable, IPS runs products through a series of custom-designed testing stations on behalf of manufacturers. The stations are part of the company’s new state-of-the-art laboratory addition, which simulates the real-life flushing scenario from toilet bowl to drain-line through disintegration. The seven flushability tests include assessments related to drain-line clearance, disintegration, settling and household/municipal sewage pumps.

The ISO accreditation comes as the nonwovens industry works together proactively to educate the public through new protocols. These protocols highlight which wipes are intended to be flushed and which are not in the hopes of eliminating future clogging problems, according to Reitmeyer. “With these new protocols in place, the intent is to determine which wipes will properly pass through the waste and sewer systems and better educate consumers through a universal labeling system.”

Based on a Code of Practice directive within INDA’s Flushability Guidelines, if a product fails any test within the seven-step series, it will immediately be deemed un-flushable and require standard “Do Not Flush” labeling.

IPS Testing will open its flushability lab and equipment to clients for product development purposes, says Reitmeyer. “If a wipe doesn’t meet the guidelines during testing, our scientists will meet with the client to provide thorough explanation and work through the problem areas discovered.”

Because wipes products have often been misrepresented as the source of the problem for waste and sewer system clogging, full flushability testing is essential in eliminating any question marks, according to Reitmeyer.

Reitmeyer also notes that wipe products that meet the protocol outlined by INDA and EDANA are able to adequately break down through the flushing process. Usually products such as diapers, baby wipes, paper towels, hand towels, feminine care items, and other materials are not. It’s these non-flushable items that have proven to be the bulk of what is discovered when evaluating clog masses, he says.

Kyra Dorsey, chair of the INDA Flushability Task Force, agrees, adding, “A study of municipal waste water systems shows that over 90% of the material found in clogs consists of articles that were never intended to be flushed. This issue can only be addressed by educating the consumer. The nonwovens industry is taking a hands-on approach in doing so by testing and appropriately labeling products.”


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