The National Advertising Division (NAD) recently recommended GreenPan, Inc. modify or discontinue certain "green" advertising claims for its cookware. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, maker of Teflon cookware products, challenged GreenPan's advertising touting its products as "eco-friendly," free from potentially dangerous chemicals, and safer and better performing than other non-stick cookware. Among those claims, GreenPan made the express claim that its products are free from PTFE and PFOA, two substances used in traditional non-stick cookware. DuPont pointed out that PFOA, a processing aid linked to cancer, is no longer used by DuPont in cookware and consumer bakeware. DuPont argued that the context of the advertising implied that all PTFE non-stick coatings are made with PFOA and/or are unsafe compared to GreenPan's Thermolon non-stick cookware. The NAD agreed with DuPont and recommended GreenPan discontinue these claims. It noted that GreenPan could describe its products as "PFOA-free" as long as its claims were non-misleading and did not imply product superiority over all PTFE non-stick products. Additionally, the NAD noted that unqualified "eco-friendly" claims made by GreenPan implied that GreenPan's products had far-reaching environmental benefits and/or did not have any negative environmental impact. The NAD concluded that GreenPan could not substantiate these broad "eco-friendly" claims and recommended that GreenPan discontinue them.
TIP: The FTC's recently revised Green Guides state that advertisers generally should avoid making unqualified general environmental benefit claims and that such claims may only be used in close connection with clear and prominent disclosures that communicate the specific environmental benefit(s) of the product.