Ads watchdog rules "e-smog" claims unproven
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 21 Nov 2012 at 10:30
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a website from selling "e-smog" protection chips, saying they aren't supported by "robust evidence".
The ads watchdog investigated the Business Revolution website - which features the slogan "better safe than sorry innovations" - for selling products by a firm called WillauTronic, which creates devices to battle the effects of "e-smog".
The site claimed electromagnetic smog is a "harmful radiation" released by electrical equipment, causing complaints including nervousness, trouble sleeping, headaches, allergies, cancer and even death.
"It is an uncontradicted fact that environmental pollution due to electro smog has an ever-increasing impact," claimed the website, which was still available online at the the time of writing - before this "fact" was contradicted by a health campaigner complaining to the ASA.
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"These truly unhealthy situations must not be helplessly endured, a tiny chip from WillauTronic may be able to help," the website claimed.
It said its £45 chips - which are metallic stickers designed to be adhered to smartphones, PCs, and TVs - will "neutralise" the "stress-causing basic vibration" with a "counter vibration". It also sells a plug-in "area e-smog neutraliser" to cover 80m2 for £495.
A health campaigner reported the website to the ASA, questioning "the claims in relation to the effects of e-smog" and whether the products could be shown to do what the site claims.
The website said the evidence for e-smog was based on a book - A Handy Way to Cook Your Brain: What's the damage?. However, the ASA said you can't believe everything you read.
"We understood that some of the claims on the website may have been informed by, or taken from, other sources such as the book mentioned by Business Revolution. However, they were nevertheless presented as objective and therefore needed to be supported by robust evidence," said the ASA. "Because we had not received evidence to substantiate the claims made with regard to the effects of e-smog and the efficacy of the WillauTronic products, we concluded that they were misleading."
Because of that, the ASA banned the site from marketing WillauTronic's e-smog products.
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Snake oil anyone?
At least the ASA are acting.
Unless the makers claim "unlimited" effects, in which case, the ASA will drop the matter...
By cheysuli on 21 Nov 2012
What is the e-smog output of the WillauTronic chip itself? Is it higher or lower than what it removes? What happens to the e-smog? Does it dissapear into a black hole only to come back in years time as a killer super smog to destroy huminity?
Too many questions, I think this needs a PC Pro investigation.
By JStairmand on 21 Nov 2012
They have a very valid point
I think that the people who sell these things need to ensure that their sales teams use mobile phones, which should be kept inside Faraday cages for safety (just in case it should happen that their stickers turn out not to be 100% effective). And in turn the entire staff should be kept permanently in very strong, locked Faraday cages, entirely for their own safety, naturally.
By bradype on 21 Nov 2012
I think there is more of a case of fraud with these 'chips' rather than just false advertising claims.
They've been looked at before:
By greemble on 21 Nov 2012
When they feel like it
So they have teeth when they feel like acting, but ignore or sidestep the unlimited and fastest claims for broadband, and generally ignore telecomms companies such as Talk Talk acting on the fringes of contractul law and pressure selling contracts to customers.
They have yet to implement any means of preventing large scale fraud calls of the "Hi we are Microsoft and want to charge you to break and then fix your computer nature"
By Gindylow on 24 Nov 2012
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