How often do you use wet wipes?
A study by Cardiff University found that the cleaning tissues are helping to spread deadly superbugs in NHS wards. Seven commercially available wipes were tested on the most common hospital infections.
In “every instance”, the wipes actually spread potentially deadly infections from one surface to another, researchers said. They went on to warn that consumers who used them in their own homes, especially the bathroom, might as well go around spraying raw Campylobacter directly into their children’s eyes. A small exaggeration… It’s worth pointing out that the wipes themselves are not to blame, rather our use of them. If you wipe the same cloth on many surfaces, you will, of course, spread germs.
This is the latest in a long line of horror stories about wipes, which are responsible for the bulk of Thames Water’s bill to unblock drains. “It doesn’t matter if they say the wipes are flushable,” says Sarah Sharpe at Thames. “They float along in the sewer until they find a piece of fat, wrap about that fat, and then slowly attract more fat. Then you get fatbergs.” These are the vilest by product of a wasteful consumer society: vast lumps of congealed cooking fat, held together by millions of used baby wipes.
It is estimated that one in five of us carry around – at all times – some form of wipe. That equates to an astonishing 578 billion wipes used every year – or about 80 for every man, woman and child on the planet.