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Serving multiple industries across the United States and internationally as an independent testing laboratory, IPS Testing announced today its achievement of ISO 17025 Accreditation for its flushability testing services.
The coveted accreditation comes on the heels of IPS Testing’s notable status as the first independent lab in the U.S. and 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 Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and its European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (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,” said Chris Reitmeyer, IPS vice president. “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 Testing 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. IPS is the only independent laboratory in North America that does all seven tests, including the municipal sewage pump test, Reitmeyer noted.
IPS’ 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,” he said.
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 is unique in that it will open its flushability lab and equipment to clients for product development purposes. “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,” Reitmeyer said.
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.
“As the flushable wipes market continues its rapid growth, our goal is to offer manufacturers accurate test results at the most economical cost,” Reitmeyer said.
Reitmeyer also noted 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 said.
Kyra Dorsey, chair of the INDA Flushability Task Force, agreed, 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.”
“At this point, testing is voluntary,” Reitmeyer said. “Manufacturers are on board with it and want to do the right and responsible thing by ensuring their wipe products meet all flushability standards.”
IPS Testing serves as an independent testing laboratory for many industries including paper, pulp and print materials; nonwovens; medical supplies; personal care and absorbent products; food packaging; and allied industries. IPS Testing combines physical and analytical testing along with interpretive data analysis to offer clients testing services that help improve and ensure the quality of their products. For more information, contact Chris Reitmeyer at 920-609-1024, or visit www.ipstesting.com.