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Claims About Keyboards Result in $205,000 Penalty for Samsung; Company Agrees to Stop Making Claims

Release Date: 10/21/2009
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662, totman.elizabeth@epa.gov

(New York, NY) When it publicized that its keyboards were antimicrobial and inhibited germs and bacteria, Samsung hadn’t registered its products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and was found to be in violation of the federal pesticide law. As a result, Samsung has agreed to pay a fine and to stop making the claims. The claims made on the company's labels and promotional material for netbook and notebook computer laptops would render the products pesticides, requiring registration by EPA.

“Pesticides can be beneficial in killing off harmful bacteria, but they can also be dangerous if they don’t work as claimed,” said George Pavlou, Acting Regional Administrator. "Members of the public think their health is being protected when it actually is not. Making sure that public health claims are true is part of the reason EPA governs the use of pesticides, and it is absolutely essential that those using pesticides register with EPA so that the Agency can ensure the safety of all involved.”

EPA’s federal pesticide law, also known as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), is designed to regulate the sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Before a pesticide can be sold or distributed in the United States, FIFRA requires that registration be obtained from EPA. In making a registration decision, EPA must determine that the pesticide, when used in accordance with labeling directions, will not cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Without a pesticide product in its registration database, EPA cannot, for example, prescribe labeling requirements that set forth effective warnings and specific directions for use.

Samsung will pay a $205,000 fine and provide a certification that it has complied with FIFRA by removing all pesticidal claims made in connection with the sales and distributions of these products. Additionally, Samsung has notified its retailers and distributors to remove any pesticidal claims from labels, promotional brochures and internet/Web-based content for the subject products.

For more information on pesticides requirements, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/pesticides/.

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