New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered AllerAir Industries, Airpura Industries, and Sylvane, Inc., companies that sell air purifiers, to immediately cease and desist marketing their products as tools that can prevent the spread and contraction of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The companies have been misrepresenting to consumers that COVID-19 is primarily an airborne disease and that its air purifiers can effectively prevent people from contracting the virus by removing the virus particles from the air. 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. COVID-19 poses serious risk to public health, and the misrepresentations by the companies could put consumers in jeopardy.
“Misrepresenting the facts of COVID-19 is dangerous to our communities and our health,” said Attorney General James. “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.”
The three companies, which sell air purifiers ranging between $900 and $1,500, claim their products contain technology that provides defense against airborne diseases and viruses such as COVID-19. While the World Health Organization does recommend “airborne precautions” for medical workers in medical environments, AllerAir Industries, Airpura Industries, and Sylvane, Inc. do not make that distinction and mislead consumers to believe that these are products that will be effective elsewhere. This omission may mislead consumers into purchasing units that have limited usefulness in protecting them and their families.
Attorney General James has sent multiple cease and desist letters to individuals and companies selling and marketing certain products as treatments or cures for the coronavirus, including TV host Wayne Allyn Root, Alex Jones, The Silver Edge company, Dr. Sherill Sellman, and televangelist Jim Bakker.
Attorney General James has also issued cease and desist notifications to hundreds of businesses in New York for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, and rubbing alcohol — a violation of New York’s price gouging statute. That statute prohibits the sale of goods and services necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers at unconscionably excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) continues to surveil and monitor businesses across the state for potential scams and price gouging schemes designed to exploit public concern related to the spread of the coronavirus. Scammers commonly exploit real public health concerns and use heightened public fear to prey on consumers and profit from frauds related to those health fears.
If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or have witnessed potential price gouging, please report these incidents to the OAG here.