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Clean Water Current

California Wipes Labeling Bill Becomes Law

October 14, 2021

California’s AB 818 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on October 6, making California the fourth state to require “Do Not Flush” labeling on non-flushable wipes.  Similar laws have been enacted in Washington, Oregon, and Illinois, with additional bills pending in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Like the other state laws, the California law avoids the contentious issue of setting flushability standards for wipes that are designed to be flushed, focusing instead on the important “Do Not Flush” labeling that provides consumers with a clear message that these types of wipes should not be flushed.  These wipes labeling bills have been supported by the wipes industry. 

In addition, the federal Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act (WIPPES) was introduced on July 21 by Reps. Lowenthal (D-CA) and McClain (R-MI).  This bill would direct the Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with U.S. EPA, to issue regulations requiring wipes manufacturers to include “Do Not Flush” labeling on non-flushable wet wipes packaging.  Another federal bill setting flushability requirements for wipes labeled “flushable” is also expected to be introduced soon. 

NACWA congratulates the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) and the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) for their successful work on AB 818, and all of the other organizations that have worked on state wipes legislation.  If you would like more information on wipes legislation or if you are aware of legislative efforts in your state, please contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.  

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