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The North Face May be Fined $1M Over Unsubstantiated Product Claims

nav_footwear_228x134The EPA may impose fines of nearly $1 million on the parent company of The North Face for alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides through footwear products.

VF Corp., owner of The North Face, is facing the action over marketing claims about footwear containing the AgION silver-treated footbed, which The North Face claimed would prevent disease-causing bacteria, according to a press release from EPA.

Specifically, the EPA has taken issue with the following marketing claims by The North Face:

  • “AgION antimicrobial silver agent inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria”
  • “Prevents bacterial and fungal growth”
  • Continuous release of antimicrobial agents

The EPA says the marketing claims violate the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (PDF). Essentially, any product that claims to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and therefore must be registered with the EPA prior to sale.

The marketing claims were associated with 70 styles of footwear.

After EPA contacted The North Face about its concerns, the company ceased using the claims and revised product packaging.

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4 thoughts on “The North Face May be Fined $1M Over Unsubstantiated Product Claims

  1. I’ve never been a huge fan of The North Face, and this sort of confirms my opinion. I’ve found that a lot of their stuff – especially their sleeping bags – just don’t hold up well as time goes by.

    On the other hand, my Columbia hiking boot have gone through three pairs of laces, and the boots still look practically brand new!

    If you want good quality camping, hiking, or trail gear, stay away from the chain stores, and order from places like REI. Sure it costs more, but as always, you get what you pay for.

  2. Hey Jim,
    REI is a co-op. It’s also a great place to buy outdoor gear because they will take anything back if it doesn’t perform to your expectations. If you are a member, they keep your information on file electronically, so you don’t even need to bring in a receipt.

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