Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Files Complaints Against Air Filtration Companies

BERKELEY, Calif., May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR), a national public health advocacy organization, filed complaints on May 20th with the New York Consumer Protection Board and the New York Attorney General's Office, claiming that two air filtration companies, FailSafe Air Safety Systems (http://www.fasscorp.com) and Airistar Technologies, LLC (http://www.airistar.com) are engaging in false advertising by misrepresenting the ability of their products to reduce health risks caused by secondhand tobacco smoke.

"Consumers should be informed that these companies' products, being touted as an alternative to New York's smokefree workplace law, do not provide protection against the serious health risks -- such as heart attacks -- that can be triggered by secondhand smoke," said Cynthia Hallett, ANR Executive Director.

Some air cleaning systems may be able to remove some of the toxins found in smoke, but no product to date is able to remove all of the harmful gases and particulates in tobacco smoke.

Reducing, but not eliminating, tobacco smoke does not mean a reduction in health risks. Tobacco smoke, according to health experts, has a "non-linear dose response," meaning that significant short-term damage to the cardiovascular system can occur even at very low levels of exposure. "The bottom line is that these ventilation systems won't protect health. This is merely a smokescreen for a serious public health issue. Americans deserve the truth," said Hallett. "The only way to protect all Americans from secondhand smoke is to create 100% smokefree environments."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently published a warning in the British Medical Journal urging nonsmokers at risk of heart disease to avoid all indoor places where smoking occurs. ( http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/bmj;328/7446/980 ) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified secondhand tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen, meaning that there is no safe level of exposure.

"These companies' marketing statements go beyond mere puffery to the point of perpetuating a public health fraud," stated ANR Executive Director Cynthia Hallett. "In light of both companies' efforts to weaken the New York State Clean Indoor Air Law, we urge the Attorney General to require that these companies cease misleading advertising regarding their products' ability to provide health protection from tobacco smoke, that they include a prominent, explicit disclaimer similar to those of other companies, clarifying that no air purifier can protect against secondhand smoke, and that they deliver written notice of this disclaimer to all members of the NY State Assembly."

For more information:

Factsheet on ventilation:
http://www.no-smoke.org/htmlpage.php?id=60

Factsheet on the science of secondhand tobacco smoke:
http://www.no-smoke.org/htmlpage.php?id=17

Bibliography of health studies regarding ventilation:
http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/VentilationBibliography.pdf

Bibliography of studies regarding the health hazards caused by secondhand smoke:
http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/SHSBibliography.pdf