Crocs to Pay $230,000 for False "Antimicrobial" Claims

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Image: Liz Jones via flickr

Crocs, the Colorado-based company that makes the seemingly-ubiquitous bright-colored plastic shoes, has been caught in a lie. Crocs were said to be antimicrobial and, well, they're not.

After discovering the false claim, the EPA has told the company pay $230,000 "to resolve cases involving unsubstantiated antimicrobial claims for several types of its shoes," as well as remove the language from its packaging.From an EPA press release:

"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.

The EPA, which has the authority to assess penalties because FIFRA requires companies to register products before making pathogen- or germ-related claims about them, says that Crocs has cooperated with its enforcement staff.

But it's a sign of a larger problem. Sandra Stavnes, director of EPA's technical enforcement program in Denver, said: "We're seeing more and more consumer products making a wide variety of antimicrobial claims. Whether they involve shoes or other common household products, EPA takes these unsubstantiated public health claims seriously."

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