A US court has issued an injunction against a steel container producer from making claims in advertisements that PET water bottles could pose a health risk to the public.
The North Carolina District Court last month imposed a permanent injunction against Eco Canteen after the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) brought legal action against the company in 2009.
The trade body said Judge Robert Conrad granted a broad permanent injunction on 17 September, 2010, prohibiting Eco Canteen from continuing to make “false or misleading claims in advertisements or on its website” that single-serve plastic bottled water containers contain phthalates and that these chemicals leach into water. An Eco Canteen claim that recycling PET plastic releases harmful substances was also included in the injunction.
“IBWA is pleased that the Court has ordered Eco Canteen to stop making false and misleading claims about bottled water,” said IBWA president and CEO Joe Doss. “This should send a signal to bottled water critics that making false and misleading advertising claims about bottled water products is not permissible.”
Deliberate scare campaign
The industry group said it launched the lawsuit because it felt that “Eco Canteen was engaged in a deliberate scare campaign to mislead consumers into believing that steel containers were safer than PET plastic bottles”.
The association’s lawsuit focused on what it describes as false allegations that plastic bottled water products constitute a safety and health risk to the public.
It objected to a number of statements it said appeared in the adverts such as: “Some (plastic bottles) even release synthetic estrogen, linked to breast and prostrate cancer.” And what it described as the false allegation that: “Plastic water bottles could be poisoning you and your family.”
The legal action also sought a court injunction to prevent the continued broadcast or publication of Eco Canteen’s adverts and from engaging in practices that would “…injure the business reputation and goodwill of IBWA or its members.”