Even your bathroom isn’t protected from recall: Kimberly-Clark, the company that makes Cottonelle products, is recalling certain quantities of flushable wipes because of possible bacterial contamination. The company released a statement on October 9th recalling several lots of its flush Cottonelle Wipes and Cottonelle GentlePlus Flushable Wipes that were manufactured and shipped to the United States, Canada and the Caribbean between February 7th and September 14th were. The products can contain the pollutant Pluralibacter gergoviae (formerly known as Enterobacter gergoviae). This bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen that can cause several types of infections in humans, including urinary, gastrointestinal, and respiratory infections. It can be found in food, but also in cosmetic products. Pluralibacter gergoviae can be resistant to antibiotics, which can make treatment difficult for some people.
The Kimberly-Clark recall statement suggests the outbreak primarily affects people at higher risk of disease: “People with compromised immune systems, who have serious pre-existing conditions, have had surgery, or belong to another sensitive group of people are one exposed to particular risk of infection. “
However, the statement said, “There is currently a low rate of non-serious conditions such as irritation and minor infections reported for the affected wipes.”
If you think you may have a product that is part of this recall, you can check the Cottonelle FAQ website to see if your wipes are part of a crowd that may be contaminated. (You can check the lot number at the bottom of your wiper package.) If wipes are included in this recall, stop using them and call the company’s customer service at 1-800-414-0165, which is available Monday through Friday 9:00 am until 5 p.m. ET.
This is a good time to point out that wet wipes can be irritating even without bacterial contamination. Using wet wipes can cause anal irritation, leading to symptoms such as itching, according to the Mayo Clinic. And depending on the ingredients (e.g. if your wipes contain fragrances), dermatitis or skin inflammation can develop, leading to symptoms such as a swollen vulva. (Even flushable towels can be pretty awful to install. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends flushing toilet paper only, nothing else.)
If you feel you need a little more than ordinary TP, can we suggest a bidet? This may sound like an unrealistically luxurious recommendation, but we actually have a list of affordable bidet accessories ready for you. Some of them even have temperature controls that’s more than wet wipes can tell. That’s a bum spoil.