WASHINGTON (October 15, 2020) — Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Electrolux Home Products, Inc., to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The settlement resolves claims that Electrolux imported unregistered pesticides in violation of section 12(a)(1)(A) of FIFRA and failed to file the required Notice of Arrival in violation of section 12(a)(2)(N) of FIFRA.
Electrolux imported approximately 420,000 Frigidaire brand dehumidifiers and air conditioners that contained filters incorporating an unregistered nanosilver and which were labeled and marketed with pesticidal claims. The claims included “antibacterial filter,” and “helps eliminate bacteria in the air that can make breathing difficult.” The imports occurred between January 11 and May 12, 2020 at eleven different U.S. ports of entry (Boston, Mass.; Worcester, Mass.; New York/Newark, N.J.; Norfolk, Va.; Wilmington, N.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; San Francisco, Calif.; and Los Angeles/Long Beach, Calif.).
EPA worked closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection across ports and EPA regions to prevent Electrolux’s 420,000 unregistered pesticide products from entering U.S. commerce. After Electrolux agreed to remove the filters with the unregistered nanosilver, both agencies worked together to conditionally release all the shipments held nationwide so that Electrolux could consolidate them, under EPA administrative order, at its own facilities. Electrolux then systematically replaced the filters manufactured with nanosilver and removed the online and on-box pesticidal claims for not only the products it had imported, but for some additional products already in the U.S. To date, Electrolux has returned over 500,000 air conditioners and dehumidifiers to compliance.
The sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides may pose risks to human health and the environment. If EPA has not reviewed reliable data about the how the pesticide product works and what kinds of exposures may impact the user, then the risk to the consumer and the environment is unknown and use of the product is potentially unsafe. Additionally, consumers may be misled to believe a pesticide product provides public health benefits that it may not.
Applicants for pesticide registration are required to submit efficacy data to the agency to substantiate any public health claims they intend to make for their pesticide product. Before EPA can register a pesticide, the agency must determine that no unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment will occur when the pesticide product is used according to its label directions. The only nanosilver pesticides that are currently registered with the EPA are approved solely for incorporation into textiles to protect those articles themselves from antimicrobial pests such as mold and bacteria that can cause deterioration, discoloration or odors. No nanosilver pesticide is registered with the EPA for use in home appliances to disinfect the ambient air or protect the health of the user.
Consumers should be diligent and scrutinize any public health claims for air filter products. If the product is not registered with the EPA, then consumers should understand that the EPA has not reviewed any data supporting those claims for that particular product.
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