EPA Halts Sale of Unsubstantiated 'Anti-MRSA' Cleaning Products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Unelko Corp. to stop selling nine unregistered pesticides in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. EPA has issued a "Stop Sale" Order to prevent Unelko from continuing to offer for sale to the public the following unregistered pesticides held on its premises: Eliminate Stainless Shine 3-in-1 Surface Care, Eliminate 3-in-1 Sani-Shield Antimicrobial Surface Barrier, Eliminate Sani-Shield 3-in-1 Surface Care, 1 Step Clean & Shield Bath Scrub, 1 Step Clean & Shield Bathroom Care, 1 Step Clean & Shield Surface Care, and Eliminate Sani-Scrub 3-in-1 Surface Care.

EPA also has issued a "Stop Sale" Order to prohibit the company from continuing to market and offer for sale the following unregistered pesticides from its Web sites: 1 Step Clean & Shield Bathroom Care, 1 Step Clean & Shield Bath Scrub, 1 Step Clean & Shield Surface Wipe, 1 Step Clean & Shield Surface Care, Eliminate Sani-Scrub 3-in-1 Surface Care, Sani-Shield Surface Wipe, Eliminate Sani-Shield 3-in-1 Surface Care, and Eliminate Stainless Shine 3-in-1 Surface Care. In particular, the agency has ordered Unelko to stop making unsubstantiated claims that its products are effective against specific microorganisms such as Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (i.e., MRSA), Escherichia coli, Salmonella, noroviruses, and the AD14 common cold virus.

"Without proper labeling and registration, these products may pose a risk to consumers," said Katherine Taylor, associate director of EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "The sale of these products not only puts the public at risk through unjustified reliance upon their usefulness as pesticides, but also unfairly undercuts legitimate businesses that have registered their products."

In addition to the two "Stop Sale" Orders, EPA has recently filed a complaint in administrative court for the alleged illegal offering for sale of the pesticides at issue as well as Unelko's failure to provide EPA with access to documents relating to the shipment of these unregistered products.

Products that make surface disinfection or sanitizer claims are considered pesticides and must be registered under federal law. The sale or distribution of a pesticide that has not been registered with EPA is a violation of federal pesticide law, which requires registration of pesticide products and pesticide-production facilities, as well as proper pesticide labeling. EPA says these requirements protect public health and the environment by minimizing the risks associated with the production, handling, and application of pesticides.

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