Xenex Discontinues Claims for ‘Germ-Zapping Robots’ Following NAD Inquiry; Claims at Issue – Including Ebola Disinfectant Claims – Challenged by Clorox

New York, NY – March 5, 2015 – Xenex Disinfection Services LLC has said it has either discontinued or will discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s “Germ-Zapping Robots.” The claims were challenged before the National Advertising Division by The Clorox Company.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Both Clorox and Xenex offer competing portable ultra-violet light disinfection product devices used by healthcare facilities. The Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System uses mercury bulbs to create UV light.  The Xenex device uses pulse xenon gas to produce UV light. Both devices are designed to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) acquired by patients during the course of medical care.

Clorox took issue with claims made online and in print and social media advertising as part of a national marketing campaign to promote the efficacy of the Xenex UV System in eliminating pathogens and microorganisms on hospital surfaces to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections or HAIs.

Upon receipt of NAD’s initial inquiry, the advertiser advised NAD that challenged express claims had run their course and would, for reasons unrelated to the Clorox challenge, be permanently discontinued.

The advertiser assured NAD in writing that certain claims had been discontinued, and that others were in the process of being discontinued. Further, the advertiser said it was well aware of its legal obligations under the applicable advertising law and NAD precedent and will take this into account in the development of future advertising.

The company committed to discontinue the express claims and the implied claims derived from such express claims:

  • “Disinfection efficacy several times faster than mercury UV.”
  • “9 times more effective against C. difficile in 5 minutes than mercury devices in the same time and space.”
  • “Faster, more effective, and easier to use than mercury-based UV systems.”
  • “Mercury lamps are Low Intensity, Narrow Spectrum emitters that only produce weak damage to cells.”
  • “Mercury vapor systems [have] about a 40% efficiency for DNA damage.”
  • “Proven more effective than hand cleaning with bleach.”
  • “Proven to eliminate >99.9% of Ebola virus in less than 5 min.”
  • “Mercury bulbs contain elemental mercury, which means they are classified as hazardous and toxic.”
  • The Xenex UV System “is the only device that is 100% green and non-toxic.”
  • The Xenex UV system is more effective than UV devices that use mercury bulbs in eliminating surface pathogens and micro-organisms in healthcare facilities.
  • Broad spectrum UV light offers more germicidal efficacy at a faster speed than single spectrum devices.
  • The Xenex UV System has been proven to be more effective than – and a suitable alternative to – conventional bleach disinfection methods.
  • UV disinfection devices that use mercury bulbs are toxic to humans and hazardous to the environment under normal use conditions.
  • The Xenex UV System has been certified as 100% green, is non-toxic to humans and to the environment, and has significant environmental benefits.

 

NAD noted in the decision that it appreciated the advertiser’s voluntary commitment to permanently discontinue the challenged claims, a necessary and appropriate action. Further, NAD said that while it appreciated the advertiser’s commitment, “Xenex, like all advertisers, is responsible for providing adequate support for all messages reasonably conveyed by any of its future advertising claims prior to their dissemination.”

Xenex, in its advertiser’s statement, said it respects the self-regulatory process and will continue to be guided by “the applicable advertising law, as well as the NAD’s precedent and findings, as it develops its future advertising in support of the marketing of its innovative products and technology. In addition, Xenex will take into account NAD’s findings.”