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U.S. EPA settles with Calif. shoe insert companies for unsubstantiated product claims

Release Date: 08/12/2014
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov, 213-244-1815

Los Angeles--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week, ordered WalkFit, LLC, WalkFit Platinum, LLC, and Ideal Products, LLC to pay $210,316 in civil penalties for making unsubstantiated antimicrobial claims about their orthotic shoe inserts, resulting in the sale and distribution of an unregistered pesticide, a violation of federal environmental law.

The instruction sheet and advertising material for WalkFit Platinum Orthotics contained claims that the shoe inserts were treated with ‘nanosilver’ that had antibacterial and antifungal properties and killed germs. Products that claim to kill or repel bacteria, fungi, or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA before their sale or distribution, as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

During an investigation that began in 2010, EPA, along with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, found that the WalkFit companies, headquartered in Sherman Oaks, Calif., sold numerous orthotics with the claims to various retailers and customers throughout the nation from July 2009 to August 2012. Orthotics are shoe inserts that claim to eliminate posture problems, strengthen heels and ankles, and reduce foot and leg pain.

The companies have since removed the terms “antibacterial,” “antifungal,” and “germ-killing” from their instruction sheets, advertising material, and website.


Under FIFRA, companies must register pesticide products with EPA before making claims about their ability to control germs or pathogens, and prior to distribution or sale. The Agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. Consumers should be careful to look for the EPA registration number printed on pesticide product labels, and need to follow the label directions for use.

For more information on FIFRA, please visit:
http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/lfra.html

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