FTC Charges Sellers of Cell Phone Radiation Protection Patches with Making False Claims
The Federal Trade Commission has charged two companies that sold devices that purportedly protect users from electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellular telephones with making false and unsubstantiated claims. In separate court actions announced today, the FTC alleges that Stock Value 1, Inc. and Comstar Communications, Inc. (Comstar) falsely represented that their products block up to 97% or 99% of radiation and other electromagnetic energy emitted by cellular telephones, thereby reducing consumers' exposure to this radiation. According to the FTC, the defendants lacked a reasonable basis to substantiate their claims. (Aegis Note: Click here for additional information about this topic.) The Commission is seeking permanent injunctions, consumer redress, and other equitable relief.
"These companies are using a shield of misrepresentation to block consumers from the facts, "said J. Howard Beales III, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "There is no scientific evidence that their products work as they claim."
Stock Value 1
The complaints allege that the defendants, in both cases, failed to disclose in their ads that the vast majority of electromagnetic energy emitted by cellular and cordless phones comes from parts of the phone other than the earpiece. The defendants allegedly also failed to disclose that the WaveShield, NoDanger, and SafeTShield™ products have no effect on this other electromagnetic energy. These facts, the FTC said, would be material to consumers' decision to buy or use their products.
Both complaints further allege that the defendants made false statements that their products had been scientifically "proven" and "tested," when in fact that was not the case.
According to a May 2001 Report by the General Accounting Office, "Scientific research to date does not demonstrate that the radio frequency energy emitted from mobile phones has adverse health effects, but the findings of some studies have raised questions indicating the need for further investigation."
The FTC has issued a new Consumer Alert - "Radiation Shields: Do They 'Cell' Consumers Short?" that offers suggestions for cell phone users who want to limit their exposure to the electromagnetic emissions from their phone. According to the FTC, there is no scientific proof that so-called shields significantly reduce exposure from electromagnetic emissions. Consumers who want to limit their exposure can take steps such as:
These cases were referred to the Commission by the Good Housekeeping Institute, the consumer product evaluation laboratory of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Independent tests conducted by the Good Housekeeping Institute on SafeTShield™, WaveShield, and similar products found that the products did not reduce radiation exposure from cellular telephones. Click here to see the Good Housekeeping Institute press release.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaints in the appropriate federal district courts was 5-0. The complaint against the SV1 defendants was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, in Fort Lauderdale, on February 13, 2002. The complaint against the Comstar defendants was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento, on February 13, 2002.