CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Clorox has set aside $7 million to repay Americans who think the company's automatic toilet bowl cleaner with bleach made their plumbing leak. You can collect up to $30 by filling out an online claim form that is available here. It doesn't seem to ask for proof you used Clorox in your toilet bowl. But you have to say it was there "to the best of my knowledge and belief." It's pretty much free cash for the asking. The checks will start landing in mailboxes by July 2011. Now $30 won't put a kid through college or pay the mortgage, but it could help fill a gas tank.
Clorox is putting up the cash to settle a federal class-action lawsuit filed in California four years ago. The lawsuit said the drop-in tablets Clorox customers used in their toilet tanks contained highly corrosive chemicals that attacked plastic and rubber components. The seals would supposedly fail. When they did, water would leak and the toilet had to be repaired. The lawsuit said Clorox had done testing "and yet sold the product by telling its customers that the CATBC would not harm the plumbing." Clorox denies all that, but the company decided not to fight: "Nonetheless, Clorox has concluded that further defense of the action would be protracted and expensive, and that it is desirable that the action be fully and finally settled."
So Clorox still maintains the tablets are safe when used as directed. The Daily Bellwether wonders how much water went down the drain. Could cities with waterworks plants filed lawsuits citing the same documents that turned up in the consumer case? If the commodes leaked, the cities had to pump in extra fresh water to make up the losses.