UV ‘disinfectant’ device marketers see the light, stop false advertising

Two marketers of ultraviolet (UV) light “disinfectant” devices agreed to stop making false and unsubstantiated claims about their products’ ability to kill highly contagious microorganisms such as foot fungus, MRSA, E. coli, and Salmonella through the use of UV lights. The FTC announced the settlement with the marketers of the devices, some of which were sold for as much as $159.99, and were marketed in various stores and online retailers, including Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walgreens.com.

Lawsuits

The FTC filed separate lawsuits in district courts in Illinois and California against Angel Sales, Inc., which marketed the shUVee® device, and Zadro Health Solutions, Inc., which marketed the Nano-UV™ device. Both Angel and Zadro agreed to settle the false and unsubstantiated advertising claims, which resulted in a $656,423 judgment against Angel, and a $629,359 judgment against Zadro. Additionally, both are prohibited from making false and unsubstantiated claims about their devices’ disinfecting efficacy, and all future claims about their products health benefits or efficacy must be based on reliable scientific evidence.

ShUVee

The FTC alleged that Angel and its owners made false and unsubstantiated claims about their shUVee device, which was marketed through their own website and national retailer websites, including Amazon.com., Walgreens.com, and the SkyMall catalog. The shUVee advertising made claims that the device, which sold for $99.99 to $139.99 each, could keep shoes odor free and that it could kill “95 percent of germs, bacteria, even the fungus responsible for the highly contagious MRSA bacteria—in less than an hour.”

Nano-UV

According to the FTC, Zadro made similar false and unsubstantiated claims about its device, the Nano-UV, including claims that it killed “99.99 percent of target bacteria—E. coli, Salmonella, and the H1N1 (swine flu) virus in 10 seconds,” and that it produced “sufficient energy to damage and alter DNA of all kinds of microorganisms.” Additionally, the Nano-UV packaging claimed that the wands were proven effective in killing 99 percent of germs on various surfaces, including nurseries, food preparation areas, public restrooms, and clinics. The devices were sold for $59.99 to $159.99, and were marketed through Zadro’s website and through other online sites, including Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, Target.com, Brookstone.com and through catalogs, including Hammacher Schlemmer, Frontgate, and SkyMall.

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated, “The defendants said their devices’ UV rays would kill dangerous microorganisms, but they didn’t have scientific evidence to back that up.”