Thursday, December 30, 2010

Compliance and Enforcement News Release (Region 8): EPA and Colorado-based Crocs, Inc. settle case over antimicrobial claims on shoes

Contacts: David Janik, 303-312-6917; Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654

EPA and Crocs settle case over antimicrobial claims

Colorado-based shoe company to pay $230,000, remove claims made on product packaging

(Denver, Colo.—December 30, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Crocs, Inc. has agreed to remove language on product packaging and pay $230,000 to resolve cases involving unsubstantiated antimicrobial claims for several types of its shoes.

“EPA will take action to protect the public against companies making unverified public health claims,” said Jim Martin, EPA’s regional administrator in Denver.  “Unless these products are registered with EPA, consumers have little or no information about whether such claims are accurate.”

The case involves several styles of Crocs shoes that included unsubstantiated health claims on product packaging in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The company also made similar claims in advertisements and on their web site.  Crocs has agreed to stop making such claims and has cooperated fully with EPA enforcement staff.  EPA’s authority to assess penalties in these settlements stems from FIFRA, which requires that companies register pesticide products with EPA before making claims about their ability to control germs or pathogens.

“We’re seeing more and more consumer products making a wide variety of antimicrobial claims,” said Sandra Stavnes, director of EPA’s technical enforcement program in Denver.  “Whether they involve shoes or other common household products, EPA takes these unsubstantiated public health claims seriously.”

Under FIFRA, products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA 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 on product labels and follow label directions for use.

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