‘Beware of online ads on bogus anti-COVID products,’ health group warns public

An environmental health group advised consumers not to be deceived by misleading online ads for products claiming to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.


"Our monitoring of online shopping sites over the weekend shows the unchecked marketing and promotion of disinfection or sterilization cards containing chlorine dioxide with misleading health claims," EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said.

EcoWaste notified last Monday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the proliferation of virus blocker products being marketed in popular online shopping platforms.

To protect consumers against deceptive marketing and promotion of disinfection and sterilization cards, the group requested the FDA to issue the necessary public health warning and to impose regulatory sanctions against erring parties.

The "virus blockers," which are being advertised as being "made in Japan," are worn on the neck to repel or kill viruses, bacteria, fungi and others by releasing chlorine dioxide for 30 to 45 days.

The group noted that Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency last March warned the public against false or misleading advertisements of anti-virus products, including disinfection cards, describing them "as lacking in objectivity and rationality, absent of any scientific grounds, and in possible violation of laws on mislabeling and health promotion."

The Philippine FDA in May 2020 issued Advisory No. 2020-852 against "made in USA" SDS Blocker Anti-Virus and "made in Japan" Virus Shut Out, two disinfectant products that were found to make misleading health claims.

Citing the FDA advisory, EcoWaste said "potential hazard may come from exposure to ingredients such as chlorine dioxide or chlorite." It warned that "exposure to these chemicals through inhalation and skin contact may cause irritation in the mouth, esophagus or stomach, shortness of breath and other respiratory problems."

EcoWaste Coalition’s monitoring of online shopping sites revealed that more unregistered disinfection or sterilization cards are being sold online, including Anti-Bacterial Virus Shut Out, CL-40 Virus Blocker, Disinfection Powder Air Portable Card, Green+ One Virus Blocker, Guardian Air Sterilization Card, Hengai Virus Blocker Card, Jaysuing Space Sterilization Card, Nanoclo2, Padano Air Sterilization Card, Saratito Virus Blocker, Virus Blocker, Virus Blocker Disinfection Card, Virus Block Out, and Virus Down.

The group pointed to the products' false or misleading claims as stated in their online advertisements.

One product boasted of effectively blocking "epidemic viruses.”

"This ID-like tool is simple enough to be worn at all times for prevention against viruses and bacteria," one product claimed.

"Neutralizes all known pathogens up to 99 percent; thus, stopping the spread of viruses, bacteria, and allergens," another product said.

"Suitable for all ages including new born babies and pregnant women," said one advertisement.

EcoWaste also pointed out that one advertisement claimed that the product was "FDA International approved," when there is no such thing as "FDA International."