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Paint companies settle allegations of misleading consumers, says FTC

Staff Writer |
Four paint companies have agreed to settle charges that they misled consumers on the safety of products by deceptively promoting them as emissions-free and VOC-free, according to Federal Trade Commission or FTC.

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In a statement, the FTC noted that the companies, Benjamin Moore & Co., ICP Construction, YOLO Colorhouse, and Imperial Paints have agreed to orders that would bar them from making claims that their products are emission-free or containing zero volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

This is unless both content and emissions are actually zero, or emissions are at trace levels, during application and after.

During the painting process and while drying, all paints emit chemicals, some of these could be harmful to the environment and people, especially to sensitive groups such as babies and those suffering from asthma or allergies, the FTC notes.

According to FTC, some promotions by the companies made explicit safety claims regarding babies, children, pregnant women, and other sensitive populations, but they had no evidence to support these claims.

The settlements also prohibit the companies from making such unsubstantiated health and environmental claims.

The FTC also asked to ensure that two of the companies, Benjamin Moore and ICP, disclose that seals appearing in their promotional materials are their own designations.

In its complaints against Benjamin Moore and ICP, the FTC alleged that the companies marketed their paint using environmental seals without disclosing to consumers that they had awarded the seal to their own products.

To correct existing unsubstantiated claims, the orders would require the companies to send letters to their distributors, instructing to stop using existing marketing materials and correct misleading claims appearing on product packaging or labeling.

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