Maker of Mosquito Shield Band Settles FTC's Deceptive Advertising Complaint
Viatek lacked scientific evidence to back up claims that the wristbands repelled mosquitos
Here in North Carolina, anything to protect against mosquito bites is a welcome product. Unfortunately, not all of those products work the way they are advertised.
Viatek Consumer Products Group, maker of the Mosquito Shield Band, is settling Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that the company had no reliable evidence that its products actually worked as marketed.
"With Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses in the news, consumers might be looking for products that protect them from mosquitos," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The defendants took advantage of those concerns, and peddled a product without having scientific support that it effectively prevented mosquito bites."
The company and its president, Lou Lentine, are also charged with violating a 2003 administrative order banning Lentine from making product claims without competent and reliable evidence.
Viatek claims that the wristbands contain mint oil that creates a vapor barrier that shields people from being bitten and provides wearers with 96-120 hours of protection. The FTC claims that the company did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up these claims.
As part of the settlement, Viatek and Lentine are, once again, banned from marketing products without solid scientific evidence to back up any claims made. The company will also pay $300,000 in fines.
Mosquito protection is always important—but as mosquito-borne diseases, like zika virus, dominate the news, it's worth being extra cautious. Be wary of products that make bold claims about offered protection, as they might have little evidence to back up those claims.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that wearing insect repellent is the best way to protect against mosquito bites. Look for these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD, IR3535.
If you can, expose as little skin as possible by wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
On nice days, it might be tempting to open the windows, but keep mosquitoes outside by using your air conditioning. If you don't have air conditioning, make sure all window and door screens are in good condition and are free of gaps and holes.
Find more tips and information about avoiding mosquito bites at CDC.gov.