Santa Monica News
Cleaners Mislead Customers With Green Ads
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jan 24, 2013 - 5:34:02 PM
SANTA MONICA—Six dry cleaners in Santa Monica were reportedly making environmental claims in their advertisements which they could not prove with evidence.
Photo courtesy of the FTC.
Cleaner By Nature, Courtyard Cleaners, Dry Clean Express, Eco Cleaners, Plaza Cleaners and TJ Cleaners all claimed they were using "non-toxic" and "environmentally safe" chemicals. City prosecutors stated on Tuesday, January 22 that the dry cleaners in question have agreed to stop making such statements in their advertisements.
"We’re glad these companies have started using less toxic chemicals, but marketing them as 'eco-friendly' just goes too far," Dean Kubani, director of the city's office of sustainability and the environment, said in a statement.
In past years, many dry cleaners in California have used the chemical perchloroethylene (perc) for dry cleaning. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), perc is a known carcinogen causing dry cleaners in California have begun to use new substances in its place.
As stated by they City Attorney's Office, the Federal Trade Commission
"prohibits the use of broad and vague claims" and "requires any factual claims to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence." Whenever the term "non-toxic" is used, it has to be supported by evidence and apply to both the environment and individual people.
Although one of the six businesses uses a less toxic chemical known as D5, also called Green Earth, it is still considered a violation of the FTC guidelines to consider it as non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
"More and more consumers want eco-friendly products," said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky in a statement. "It's big business these days. That makes it all the more important for consumers to be sure that the advertising claims are true."
The California law states that a City can demand a business to substantiate claims made in its advertisements with hard evidence. The Consumer Protection Unit and OSE investigated local cleaners last year due to suspicion that the environmental claims were not accurate.
Any questionable environmental advertising claims can be reported to the City Attorney's Office at (310) 458-8336 or smcounsumer.org.
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