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deception about the specific nature of the environmental benefit being asserted.

Example 1

A brand name such as “Eco-Safe” is deceptive if, in the context of the product so named, it leads consumers to believe that the product has environmental benefits that cannot be substantiated by the manufacturer. The claim is not deceptive if “Eco-Safe” were followed by clear and prominent qualifying language limiting the safety representation to a particular product attribute for which it could be substantiated and provided that no other deceptive implications were created by the context.

Example 2

A product wrapper is printed with the claim “Environmentally Friendly.” Textual comments on the wrapper explain that the wrapper is “Environmentally Friendly because it was not chlorine bleached, a process that has been shown to create harmful substances.” The wrapper was, in fact, not bleached with chlorine. However, the production of the wrapper now creates and releases to the environment significant quantities of other harmful substances. Because consumers are likely to interpret the “Environmentally Friendly” claim, in combination with the textual explanation, to mean that no significant harmful substances are currently released to the environment, the “Environmentally Friendly” claim would be deceptive.

Example 3

A pump spray product is labeled “environmentally safe.” Most of the product’s active ingredients consist of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that might cause smog by contributing to ground-level ozone formation. The claim is deceptive because, absent further qualification, it is likely to convey to consumers that use of the product will not result in air pollution or other harm to the environment.

Example 4

A lawn care pesticide is advertised as “essentially nontoxic” and “practically nontoxic.” Consumers would likely interpret these claims in the context of such a product as applying to human health effects and to the product’s environmental effects. Because the claims convey to consumers that the product does not pose any risk to humans or the environment, if the pesticide poses a significant risk to humans or environment, the claims would be deceptive.

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