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New York AG issues cease and desist to companies claiming air purifiers prevent coronavirus

New York AG issues cease and desist to companies claiming air purifiers prevent coronavirus
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New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said Thursday that she has called on three companies to stop marketing their air purifiers as tools to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

James said in a statement that AllerAir Industries, Airpura Industries and Sylvane Inc. have misrepresented the virus as a predominantly airborne disease, rather than primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets, and claimed their air purifiers remove virus particles from the air.

James’s office noted that while the World Health Organization has recommended “airborne precautions” for health care workers, the companies in question do not make the distinction and suggest to consumers that their products will be effective in other settings as well.

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“Misrepresenting the facts of COVID-19 is dangerous to our communities and our health,” James said in the statement. “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.”

In a statement to The Hill, Sylvane claimed that the company took James's concerns into consideration. 

"Sylvane is a retail outlet for small appliances. We are not a manufacturer. In a blog post, we republished information provided to us by air purifier manufacturers regarding the use of their units in medical settings overseas," Sylvane told The Hill in a statement. "We were contacted by the New York Attorney General as there was a concern that the republished information might lead to confusion or misinterpretation. We made the requested clarifying changes the same day and we are grateful for the provided guidance."
 
The Hill has reached out to AllerAir and Airpura Industries for comment.
 

James has sent similar cease-and-desist orders to figures claiming their products cure or prevent coronavirus, including televangelist Jim Bakker and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R), meanwhile, sued Bakker earlier in March for marketing a “Silver Solution” sold through his show as a cure for the virus following cease-and-desists from both James and the Food and Drug Administration.

State attorneys general have stepped up their efforts against price-gouging and scams taking advantage of the pandemic, with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) saying his office has received reports of people claiming to be from a hospital treating the victim’s grandchild for coronavirus and soliciting money for a ventilator.

Updated 4:16 p.m.