Any parent who’s had the horror of hearing their kid come home and proudly proclaim, “There’s lice at school!” would likely love to prevent such a thing in any possible way. But that’s not reality, unless you make your kid wear a swimming cap to school every day. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission charged one company with false advertising, after it touted its products as “lice prevention” tools.
The FTC leveled the deception charges at personal care company Lornamead, Inc. for its claims that its line of “Lice Shield” items — shampoo, a stick and a spray — could prevent or reduce the risk of getting head lice.
That’s totally different than other products for head lice, called pediuclicides, which are used to treat infestations after the little critters have already set up shop.
The products and ads for it bore claims that citronella and other essential oils used in the Lice Shield line would “dramatically reduce” the risk of head lice infestations, said the FTC’s complaint. It also claimed that the best way to treat head lice was to not get them in the first place, as its products are “scientifically shown to repel head lice.”The products were sold in Albertsons, CVS, Safeway, Rite Aid, ShopRite, Walgreens, and WalMart.
Lornamead will shell out $500,000 as part of the settlement, and is banned from making any similar claims in the future. If it wants to make such claims it’ll have to have at least one well-controlled human clinical study to support that claim.
“As any parent knows, an outbreak of lice can wreak havoc,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When marketers say their products can be used to avoid these pests, they’d better make sure they can back up their claims.”