Gansler settles with CleanWell over germ-killing claims

By Bryan Cohen | Sep 21, 2012


BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced a settlement on Friday with a California-based company that allegedly lacked proof for claims that its hand sanitizer kills 99.99 percent of germs.

Gansler's Consumer Protection Division alleged that CleanWell Company and OhSo Clean Inc. engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices by representing that its hand sanitizer was proven to kill 99.99 percent of illness-causing germs, including MRSA, salmonella, E. coli and staph. The company allegedly failed to provide necessary substantiation for the statements.

"Companies that make unsubstantiated claims about their products deceive consumers into spending their hard-earned money on something that may not live up to its billing," Gansler said.

"With flu season approaching, consumers should know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing with soap and water is the best way to reduce germs on your hands and that hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs."

Under the terms of the agreement, CleanWell agreed to alter how it markets its hand sanitizer products and to stop using false, deceptive or misleading promotion of hand sanitizer products. CleanWell must also pay $100,000 in costs and penalties, remove assertions that its product can kill specific percentages of germs and remove claims about the effectiveness of its hand sanitizer unless it obtains scientific proof to support the claims.

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