Do you make any green claims with your products? Three mattresses firms recently reached a settlement with the FTC and agreed to discontinue unsupported claims that their mattresses where free of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). VOC’s are carbon-containing compounds that may be harmful to human health and the environment. The settlement prohibited the mattresses companies from claiming their products where free of VOC’s without competent and reliable scientific evidence that the mattresses actually contain either zero micrograms per cubic meter or no more than just a trace amount of VOC’s.
Environmental claims about products are becoming more and more prevalent especially with products sold to children under the age of 12 years. These claims include things like; BPA free, Odor free, 100 percent natural materials, Phthalate free, etc. These types of Environmental Benefit claims are closely scrutinized by the FTC and must be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
When manufacturers and importers say a product is green and “free of” a chemical or substance, the product must not contain the chemical or substance or have only a trace amount. The “trace amount” test is met if;
- The level of the chemical or substance is less than that which would be found as an acknowledged trace contaminant or background level
- The chemical or substance’s presence does not cause material harm that consumers typically associate with it
- The chemical or substance has not been added intentionally
The FTC’s Green Guides are a valuable resource when analyzing whether a “green claim” is adequately supported.
Do you have questions about your Environmental Benefit claim related your product or packaging?
Jacoby Solutions provides consulting services for compliance related issues.
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