US officials are pleading with the public to be more conscious of what they flush down the toilet during this pandemic, with face masks, gloves and wipes building up into ‘fatbergs’ that are clogging sewer systems nationwide. Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said at a recent press briefing that most of the 19 sewer and storm water pumping stations in the city had been blocked up with medical items by the end of April. In Houston, Texas, sanitary sewage overflows increased by 33% between February and March according to spokeswoman Erin Jones. She blamed this on clogs from rags, tissues, paper towels and wipes. Shortages in toilet paper, particularly during the early days of the coronavirus epidemic, forced Americans to occasionally seek alternatives. This, combined with an increased effort to sanitise their homes, is what has caused the problems. “When everyone rushed out to get toilet paper and there was none … people were using whatever they could,” said Pamela Mooring, spokeswoman for DC Water, the operator of the nation’s capital’s sewage system.