The 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.