The New York Attorney General is striking back against scammers who have been marketing and selling phony “novel coronavirus-killing” devices.
Three companies have allegedly been misrepresenting to consumers that COVID-19 is a primarily airborne disease and that its air purifiers can effectively prevent people from contracting the virus by removing the virus particles from the air.
On Thursday, March 26, James announced that she ordered AllerAir Industries, Airpura Industries, and Sylvane, Inc., to cease and desist marketing their products as tools that can prevent the spread of the virus.
Since the outbreak began earlier this month, the three companies have been selling air purifiers for between $900 and $1,500 while claiming they possessed new technology that provides defense against airborne diseases such as COVID-19.
“While the World Health Organization does recommend ‘airborne precautions’ for medical workers in medical environments, (the companies) do not make that distinction and mislead consumers to believe that these are products that will be effective elsewhere,” James said. "This omission may mislead consumers into purchasing units that have limited usefulness in protecting them and their families.”
James noted that “studies from countless health organizations across the globe have determined that the primary transmission of the virus is through respiratory droplets, not air transmission, making these claims deeply misleading to consumers.”
The AG said the misrepresentation of how the virus is spread could lull consumers into a false sense of security regarding the spread of the virus.
James has been on a crusade against companies looking to profit on the pandemic, sending cease and desist letters to television and radio hosts, and other companies that have been falsely claiming they have products for sale that will help curtail the spread of COVID-19.
James has also targeted price gougers in New York who have been selling essential items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectants and rubbing alcohol for exorbitant prices.
“Misrepresenting the facts of COVID-19 is dangerous to our communities and our health,” she said. “The claims of AllerAir Industries, Airpura Industries, and Sylvane Inc. wrongly lead people to believe that purchasing an air purifier is enough to protect them from getting the virus and spreading it — a deception that is dangerous to them and to public health. My office will continue to root out companies that jeopardize our health and safety to increase their bottom line.”
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