NY AG cracking down on companies falsely advertising products claiming to protect against the Zika virus

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – The New York Attorney General’s Office announced it is cracking down on several companies that are falsely marketing products that prevent or protect against the Zika virus.

The office says it sent cease and desist letters to seven companies to stop selling and advertising products that it knows are ineffective against the virus.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also issued a consumer warning alerting the public about deceptive ads regarding the virus.

“New Yorkers are understandably concerned about Zika virus and looking for ways to protect themselves and their families,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of public concern about Zika to peddle products that simply don’t work. My office will not tolerate deceptive advertising of products that provide only a false sense of security against a real threat.”

Consumers are advised to avoid products that contain ultrasonic and botanical mosquito repellents, and Vitamin B-based repellents.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the following products contain none of the CDC-approved active ingredients:

  • Wildheart Outdoors Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
  • MosQUITo Repellent Bracelet Wristband Band
  • Neor Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
  • Kenza High Quality Zika Mosquito Repellent Smiley Patch
  • Mobile Pro Gear ZIKA Shield Mosquito Repellent Bands
  • STAR Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
  • iGear iGuard 2.0 Ultrasonic Insect Pest Repellent

The Zika virus is spread through infected mosquitoes, but can also be spread by sexual or blood contact.

According to officials, symptoms of the virus include mild fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika poses a threat to women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, because it can cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect that affects brain development.

Currently, there is no cure for the Zika virus.

Consumers are advised to look for EPA-registered insect repellents containing at least one of the following ingredients: DEET, Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel and icaridin), IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and Para-Menthane-Diol. The Attorney General’s Office says only products containing at least one of these ingredients have been recommended by the CDC as a safe and effective way of protecting against the Zika Virus.

The CDC also recommends the following to prevent the Zika virus:

  • Avoid travel in areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus. These areas can be found on the CDC’s website.
  • If one must travel to one of the identified areas, consumers should:
    • Wear pants and long sleeves,
    • Stay in places with air conditioning and screens on windows and doors,
    • Sleep under mosquito bed nets, and
    • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pre-treated clothing.

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