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Products falsely claiming to protect customers from Coronavirus have been discovered by West Sussex Trading Standards Service in the county.
UV lights, cards worn around the neck to “sterilise the air” and face coverings are just some of the misleading items found for sale.
Basic face coverings claiming to be made to a “KN95” standard were purchased by officers in 23 high street shops across the county including Chichester, Burgess Hill, Crawley and Horsham.
“KN95” is a standard used in China and is not recognised in the UK as providing any form of virus protection.
Officers are tracing the supply chain back to the importers and advising the sellers about not stocking products making misleading claims.
Products which allegedly kill 99% of viruses using UV lights have also been found online. These came in the form of wands that move over surfaces and a box which sterilises items like mobile phones.
Officers sent a selection of these products for testing and these claims were shown to be false. In one example the levels of UV emitted were so low it would have taken at least 12 hours to kill 99% of viruses – which the advertising claimed happened in 5 minutes.
A card which claims to “sterilise the air” around the user by emitting chlorine dioxide was also found for sale on UK online platforms by officers.
There is no scientific basis for this.
Trading Standards informed the Office of Product Safety and Standards who have ensured online market places do not list these products.
Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “We are working hard to ensure residents looking to protect themselves from Coronavirus are not lured into purchases by false information.
“All of these products were falsely labelled. Not only would purchasing one of these lead to unnecessary expenditure, it could also make the buyer feel protected from the virus and therefore less likely to take other precautions such as social distancing and frequent hand washing.”
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I would like to thank Trading Standards officers for uncovering these products. The best way to protect ourselves and our communities from Coronavirus is to continue to wash our hands regularly, keep socially distanced, wear a face mask where appropriate and get tested when we have symptoms.”
West Sussex residents with symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to request a free test for the virus at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
Getting tested if symptoms arise is key to ensuring we can #KeepWestSussexSafe.
Anyone who thinks they have been sold an unsafe product, should contact Trading Standards at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or via Citizens Advice on 08082231133.