Makers Of Ultraviolet “Disinfectant” Devices Penalized $1.3M For Making False Germ-Killing Claims


A bit of advice to gadget-makers out there: If you’re going to claim that your ultraviolet light product can ” kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria in 10 seconds or less” or eradicate disease-spreading fungus and drug-resistant MRSA, then you should have the science to back these claims up.

The Federal Trade Commission has announced settlements, totaling around $1.29 million, against two companies that marketed ultraviolet lights as “disinfectant” devices that could kill various pathogens.

Angels Sales, Inc., are the folks behind the shUVee, an ultraviolet light device that, as far back as 2011, was advertised as a germ-killing shoe deodorizer.


“The UV light given off by the shUVee kills over 95% of germs, bacteria, even the fungus responsible for the highly contagious MRSA bacteria — in less than one hour,” touted the product’s description on websites like and Amazon, where the devices sold for upwards of $139.99.

“The power of UV light, along with a short period of time, is all that is needed to clean the inside of your shoes,” read a statement on the shUVee’s now-defunct website.

Recent marketing copy for the product on ramped up the product’s supposed effectiveness, claiming that “Lab tests show The shUVee kills over 99% of common germs & bacteria that cause foot odor.”

But the FTC says in its complaint [PDF] that all of these claims are false and/or unsubstantiated, in violation of the FTC Act’s prohibition against misleading advertising. Angel Sales and its owners have been slapped with a judgment [PDF] of $656,423.

A second company, Zadro Health Solutions sold a number of ultraviolet light devices marketed as disinfectants, including the Nano-UV Disinfection Scanner, the Nano-UV Wand, and the Nano-UV Water Disinfectant through places like (where else) the SkyMall and Hammacher Schlemmer catalogs, and Amazon. The retail prices on these products ranged from $59.99 to $159.99.

“Our specially designed Disinfecting Wands have been proven to eliminate 99.9% of targeted germs and viruses* on surfaces and in water in as little as 10 seconds,” claimed the company’s website, which is still operating but does not sell these items. That asterisk in the text referred to a list of “targeted germs and viruses” like Salmonella, E. Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus, and the H1N1 virus (better known as swine flu).

In the SkyMall catalog, the company claimed that its products were “Proven effective by independent testing laboratories,” and that they could “destroy all kinds of microorganisms without toxins or side effects. Simply pass the scanner over any area for 10 seconds and you’re done.”

The company even claimed that the light could kill dust mite eggs in pillows, and on bedding and carpets.

Another SkyMall listing advertised that you claims of eliminating 99.9% of bacteria, mold and fungus in water in only 40 seconds were “Backed by independent laboratory studies.”

According to the FTC complaint [PDF] against Zadro, the company’s germ-killing claims were false or unsubstantiated.

The company now faces a judgment [PDF] worth $629,359, though that amount is partially suspended if the defendants pay $222,029 in refunds to consumers.

Both companies and their principals have agreed to stop making false or unsubstantiated claims about any products’ ability to disinfect.

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