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FTC continues attack on enviroclaims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is not letting up on its attack against unsubstantiated claims that packaging is biodegradable or otherwise environmentally friendly.

This fall, the FTC ordered two plastic bag manufacturers, North American Plastics Corp., Aurora, IL, and BPI Environmental, Taunton, MA, to stop making unsubstantiated degradability claims for the companies' trash and grocery sacks.

In mid-October, the FTC reached a proposed consent agreement with Creative Aerosol Corp., Freehold, NJ, which makes "Funny Color Foam" children's bath soap. FTC charged the company with making false and unsubstantiated claims that its product is safe for the environment, that it will not damage the ozone layer or otherwise harm the atmosphere, and that its packaging is recyclable.

Under the settlement, the company is prohibited from representing that any product it sells offers any environmental benefit unless it can substantiate the claim.

The FTC said the foam is sold in an aluminum aerosol can with a plastic cap made of high-density polyethylene. The label stated "Recyclable Cap & Can," and included the chasing-arrows symbol for recycling.

Although the cap and can can be recycled, the agency pointed out that the vast majority of consumers cannot recycle them because only a few facilities nationwide will accept the high-density polyethylene cap. And it claims there are virtually no collection facilities that accept aluminum aerosol cans for recycling.

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