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Can you prove those claims?

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Mar 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Can you prove those claims?

Two Colorado companies with controversial products have been sued by the Iowa Attorney General's Office for consumer fraud. According to the complaint, it seems that the Colorado companies, Osmosis, LLC and Harmonized Water, LLC, process and market water to help with a number of conditions, including protection against UV rays, repelling of mosquitoes, protection against pathogens, curing of acne, reversal of aging and other conditions. The miracle water is purportedly treated with a device that changes the electrical energy in the water, thereby making it have healthy benefits. The Iowa Attorney General's Office alleges that the companies cannot substantiate the claims about the water product. I have written about substantiation of claims before. It is an important requirement for advertising.

I know the Iowa attorney on the case, Steve St. Clair. He is a pretty solid attorney and it appears that he was very thorough in putting the case together. I think this will be an interesting case. I noted some comments by the owner of the companies to the effect that he is on the "cutting edge" of new ways of thinking about products and their energy. If that is true, then the question is whether he can prove the claims.

I pulled two interesting summaries from the complaint about the products at issue. First, is the UV Neutralizer:

In 2012, Osmosis began selling UV Neutralizer, advertised as an ingestible liquid that would protect against the damaging rays of the sun. The product was created, it was claimed, by using a machine called the Harmonizer to imprint frequencies upon ordinary water. The product worked, it was claimed, by generating scalar waves that vibrated above the skin, cancelling the potentially injurious effects of solar radiation. A few pumps from the spray dispenser into one's mouth, it was claimed, afforded three hours of protection from the sun comparable to what an SPF 30 sunscreen would provide.

I doubt the companies would ever be able to back up these claims with hard science. Another similar type statement was made about one of the other products:

Since at least as early as August of 2014, Defendants have marketed, to Iowans and others, an ingestible mosquito repellent called Harmonized H2O Mosquito, which is priced on the Osmosis website at $30 for a small bottle (3.38 fluid ounces). Defendants have made the following performance claims (among others) regarding Harmonized H2O Mosquito:
a) “ Mosquito deterrent [--] This formula contains the Osmosis Harmonized Water enhanced with proprietary frequencies in the form of scalar waves.”
b) The product fends off mosquitos by “ using frequencies that mosquitos find annoying! One hour after ingesting, these frequencies will be vibrating at the skin level and will deter mosquitos from landing on you. While the reports suggest that this is nearly 100% effective, you can expect the occasional kamikaze mosquito to irregularly break through. . . . [The product] creates a vibrating shield from head to toe without any
chemicals.”

Again, I doubt that the companies will be able to back these claims up with hard science. I expect that the companies will eventually lose the case and be barred from selling their products in Iowa.

Companies advertising supplements and other products that provide health benefits must be careful with meeting the substantiation requirements. It is very easy to exceed the conclusions found in studies and other scientific evidence when developing advertising for the product. If you are in need of assistance in meeting the substantiation claims, please feel free to contact Harmony Law for assistance.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Prior to opening Harmony Law, Mr. Hutchins worked in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office for several years where he developed a strong consumer protection enforcement unit. In that position he led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions under the Consumer Protection Act. He worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado, on consumer protection matters. Mr. Hutchins is also a contributing author to Consumer Protection Law Developments, Second Edition. Previous to his work in the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Hutchins was in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska where he was the chief litigator for a firm. Mr. Hutchins represented municipalities on various matters. Mr. Hutchins provided counsel to businesses and investment advisors regarding compliance with securities laws. He was also a bond lawyer and worked on municipal financing matters. Prior to that, Mr. Hutchins practiced civil litigation with a law firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mr. Hutchins devotes his spare time to his family, traveling and enjoying the great outdoors.

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Harmony Law is one of the few law firms in Colorado and Wyoming that focuses on consumer law. Mr. Hutchins is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and state chair for Wyoming. If you have a consumer law issue, please feel free to call 970-488-1857 and speak with Mr. Hutchins.

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