In this article, we note a couple of recent EPA enforcement actions against manufacturers allegedly making unsubstantiated antimicrobial claims for their products – much like occurred in the IOGEAR computer keyboard/mice episode in 2008.  Although these products do not purport to use nanoscale materials, the alleged claims for these products are similar to those made by manufacturers for certain nano-based antimicrobial products. Thus, our readers may be interested in EPA’s actions.

The EPA issued a press release today stating that the parent company of North Face camping and outdoor gear faces up to $1,000,000 in fines for allegedly making unsubstantiated health-related claims for almost 70 of its shoe products using Agion silver ion technology. The EPA press release states:

“At issue were more than 70 styles of footwear that incorporated an AgION silver treated footbed. The company sold the products making unsubstantiated claims that the footwear would prevent disease-causing bacteria. Specifically, The North Face made the following public health claims about the footwear on-line and on product packaging:  • ‘AgION antimicrobial silver agent inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria’ • ‘Prevents bacterial and fungal growth’ • Continuous release of antimicrobial agents”

The fines are being sought by EPA under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act which prohibits unsubstantiated public health claims regarding unregistered products.

From Agion’s website: “Agion technology operates at the surface of a product through the controlled release of silver ions which attack microbes and inhibit their growth in three different ways. We offer a variety of silver-based technologies to suit various manufacturing and product requirements.” 

In another press release, EPA publicized a complaint it filed “against Peoria, Ariz.-based Granite Marketing, Inc. for the alleged sale and distribution of an unregistered pesticide in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The EPA is seeking up to $5,200 in civil penalties from Granite Marketing, Inc., located at 8190 W. Deer Valley Road, for offering for sale the unregistered antimicrobial pesticide known as Titania Antibacterial System.”