Blaine water bottle company’s Covid-19 claims violate FTC laws

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been cracking down on unsubstantiated Covid-19 claims from companies nationwide, including a water bottle company in Blaine.

Copper H2O, an online retailer that sells 20-ounce copper water bottles for $32.50, reportedly made misleading Covid-19 claims on its website and social media pages between March and September 2020. The company also sells copper-infused face masks, gloves and keychains, among other copper items.

According to the FTC letter to the company, it is illegal under the FTC Act to advertise that items can “prevent, treat or cure human disease” without scientific evidence. The letter stated there is no Covid-19 study specific to the company’s copper products.

However, a Copper H2O spokesperson said this was a misinterpretation of the website’s content.

“We have never suggested, whether in advertising material or otherwise, that our products, or any copper products, can treat or prevent Covid-19,” a company spokesperson said in an email statement to The Northern Light. “What we have said is that copper as a material has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which is scientifically supported by a number of credible scientific studies.”

The company cited a March 17 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study concluded Covid-19 stayed on copper for four hours, a much shorter time than the two to three days that the virus survived on plastic and stainless steel.

The FTC asked Copper H2O to notify the agency within 48 hours of receiving the letter about changes it made to reverse the violations, according to the letter.

The company removed the disputed content from its website to avoid misinterpretation, the spokesperson said.

This is the ninth round of letters the consumer protection agency has sent to over 330 companies claiming to prevent or treat Covid-19, according  to a November 12 FTC press release.

Claims from other companies included that supplements, beaded bracelets and personal training could prevent the virus.

The FTC investigated the company’s website and social media in September, its warning letter states.

Copper H2O was the only Washington company contacted by the FTC in this round of 20 letters.

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