Logitech Gets $250,000 Fine for Unsubstantiated Keyboard Health Claims

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered computer peripherals maker Logitech Inc. to pay $261,000 to settle a case against the company for making unsubstantiated public health claims about its keyboard, a violation of federal law. The company incorporated a silver compound designed to protect a keyboard against deterioration, then marketed the keyboard as protecting the user from bacteria and microbes. To promote such benefits for that use a company must have the product tested, then registered by the EPA.

“Unverified public health claims can lead people to believe they are protected from disease-causing organisms when, in fact, they are not,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The EPA takes very seriously its responsibility to enforce the law against companies that make such claims for their products.”

Logitech, whose U.S. headquarters are based in Fremont, Calif., distributed some 1,300 cordless desktop MX3200 laser keyboards to various retailers and customers throughout the nation. This keyboard and mouse combination incorporated an EPA registered pesticide, AgION silver compound.

Evidence found online and during an investigation of the Fremont facility in 2008 led the agency to issue a complaint against Logitech. After being contacted by EPA, Logitech promptly stopped making claims that their product protects consumers against bacteria, mold and mildew, removed claims from their website, and revised their product packaging.

Products that kill or repel bacteria or germs and/or claim to do so are considered pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA before their sale or distribution, pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions. Consumers should be careful to follow the directions for proper use, and look for the EPA registration number printed on product labels.