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PA EPA ISSUES COMPLAINT FOR ILLEGAL CLAIMS THAT PESTICIDE PRODUCT PROTECTS CHILDREN FROM BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Release Date: 12/12/97
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1997

EPA ISSUES COMPLAINT FOR ILLEGAL CLAIMS THAT PESTICIDE PRODUCT PROTECTS CHILDREN FROM BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

On Dec. 5, EPA issued a civil administrative complaint charging Microban Products Co., Huntersville, N.C., with making unsubstantiated public health claims for its pesticide, Microban Plastic Additive “B.” The complaint charges Microban with making claims that certain consumer products treated with the pesticide protect children from infectious diseases caused by bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph. and Strep., when in fact the treatment was approved only to protect the plastic in the products from deterioration. The Agency is seeking $160,500 in civil penalties. With today’s action against Microban, EPA is assuring that registrants limit their claims to those permitted by the product’s registration. The use of unapproved public health claims in conjunction with the sale of consumer goods such as sponges, toys and cutting boards may pose a risk to the public. In the case of toys, parents and child care providers could easily conclude from the claims authorized by Microban that the mere presence of Microban in toys provides protection from harmful germs and hence a public health benefit. If parents and child care providers believe that toys are sanitary or self-sanitizing, they may not practice standard hygiene to prevent transmission of harmful germs, or be as careful as they should be. The net result may be that children’s health is less protected. Microban Plastic Additive “B” is registered by EPA to inhibit bacterial growth in plastic. No public health-related claims have ever been accepted for this pesticide. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, it is illegal to make claims for any pesticide which differ from those claims approved in connection with the pesticide’s registration. EPA will contact companies which incorporate registered products to emphasize their obligation to comply with the law and to provide such companies with an opportunity to come into compliance.

R-172 ###